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Newbury Park man broke his ankle ‘replacing an aerial’ at time of £260k Ferrari fire in Emerson Park, court told

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 December 2018

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: Ken Mears

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

A market trader didn’t torch a £260,000 Ferrari because he had a broken ankle ‘after falling off his van replacing an aerial’, a court has heard.

Jurors were shown this photo of the burned out Ferrari in the drive of a home on Nelmes Crescent, Emerson Park in September 2016. Photo cedit: Jaimee SpraggonJurors were shown this photo of the burned out Ferrari in the drive of a home on Nelmes Crescent, Emerson Park in September 2016. Photo cedit: Jaimee Spraggon

Wasim Ahmad Mir, 47, of Cranley Drive, Newbury Park, told a Snaresbrook Crown Court jury yesterday (December 12) he slipped off a step ladder after fixing an aerial on his transit van around the time of the blaze in Emerson Park on September 7, 2016.

Charles Conway, defending, said the car’s owner, Raja Bassi, was trying to set Mr Mir up after he threatened to sue the Ilford estate agent’s, ABC Gone, over a botched house sale. Mr Bassi was a director of the firm at that time.

However, Usha Shergill, prosecuting, alleged Mr Mir broke his ankle when he fell climbing a wall at Mr Bassi’s home before setting the car alight.

She said he was angry the sale had gone wrong and wanted to teach Mr Bassi a lesson.

“That’s not true. That never happened,” Mr Mir said.

Ms Shergill replied: “You have put to the court a fanciful and far-fetched explanation. Mr Bassi never set you up. You were responsible for the fire.”

And she questioned why he would fix the aerial at night.

Mr Mir said: “I’m a hands on person. I thought as Clive was fixing my van I might as well fix the aerial.”

The court heard Mr Mir called Romford mechanic, Clive Norman, after his van broke down in Marksgate on the evening of December 6. The Ferrari Spider was set on fire at about 3am the next day.

Phone records showed Mr Mir called Mr Norman at 1.11am and 1.14am before he arrived to see to the van.

Mr Mir called his sister, Arsha Butt, at 3.55am after breaking his ankle before Mr Norman drove him to her house.

His twin brother then drove him to the Royal London Hospital.

Appearing in court, Mr Norman backed up what Mr Mir said but could not remember the date of the breakdown.

Also in court, Ms Butt confirmed her brother-in-law came to her house, but said he didn’t tell her how his ankle was injured.

The married father-of-four denied pouring a jerry can of petrol over the bonnet of the car and leaving the container and a box of matches at the scene saying they were planted at the address in Nelmes Crescent to frame him.

Only his DNA was found on both, forensic experts showed.

Following his arrest in November 2016, Mr Mir would not comment when asked by police where he was on September 7 because he was unsure at the time and wanted to check, the court heard.

He arrived at the police station with his arm in a sling, carrying a walking stick and painkillers.

Asked how his DNA got on the petrol can, Mr Mir said he sneezed on it after Mr Bassi asked to borrow it and collected it 10 to 14 days before the fire.

Witness, fellow market trader Keith Douglas, supported Mr Mir’s story, but said he did not see who collected the container.

Asked about the matchbox, Mr Mir said it didn’t belong to him but that a former colleague of Mr Bassi’s had asked him to pass it to him during a visit where both men were present.

Mr Mir pleads not guilty to one count of damaging property and being reckless as to whether life was in danger and a second count of arson.

The trial continues.

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