A FATHER who was killed in a house fire along with his two children was branded a drug dealer by a man accused of his murder, a court has heard.
Robert Jennings denied having anything to do with the fire that killed Thomas Sharkey, 55, his son Thomas, 21, and eight-year-old daughter Bridget.
The High Court in Glasgow yesterday heard excerpts from a police statement given by Jennings on 3 August 2011, following the fire in Helensburgh, on 24 July 2011.
When asked if he had any involvement, he told officers: “No, no involvement whatsoever.”
DC Moira Fyfe was giving evidence yesterday at the trial of Jennings, 50, and Scott Snowdon, 37, who deny murdering Mr Sharkey and his children. The officer was present when the statement was taken from Jennings at Clydebank police office.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC read out part of the statement: “I have been asked what I knew about Tommy Sharkey.
“I first got to know Tommy Sharkey years ago, maybe 20 years ago. Tommy and my brother Eddie were both drug dealers. At the time Tommy got called T-bags because he sold tenner bags of speed.”
DC Fyfe confirmed Jennings made the statement and that he told them Mr Sharkey had tried to sell him cocaine in 2010.
The court heard Jennings claimed on the weekend of the fire he stayed at his partner Karen’s house so he could help with their three children.
And, on the morning of the fire, he drove to his home in Helensburgh.
He said: “I drove home, didn’t see anyone. Parked my car outside the flat and went into my flat. I didn’t meet anyone or see anyone. Next day I was woken up by the sound of locals outside. I could tell something had happened – there was a lot of excited talk.”
The court heard he drove to his partner’s house, and it was she who spoke of the fire and that the children had died.
Jennings told police: “No sooner had Karen told me, that was when my mobile rang. It was Joe Hosey. He asked me if I had heard what happened.
“I didn’t let on I knew anything and he told me Tommy and all the family were dead and there had been a fire. I replied to Joe, ‘I hope they get the c*** that did it’.”
Mr Prentice asked DC Fyfe if anything about fire-raising had been made public by then.
She said the inquiry team were told but she was not sure whether the media knew and had then told the public.
Jennings said he had never been to Mr Sharkey’s house but knew where he lived.
Under cross-examination by Ian Duguid, for Jennings, DC Fyfe was asked what Jennings had said in his statement about the morning of the fire.
She replied: “He told us he got up from his house and went to his girlfriend’s and she was the first to tell about the fire.”
The trial, before Lord Matthews, continues.