Investigating the deaths of two jockeys in an arson attack. Plus, what it is like to be a lifeguard in Bridlington, and footage of WWII Free French bomber squadron missions.
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Hello and welcome to a new series of Inside Out from Bridlington.
This week, we investigate whether the deaths of two young jockeys who
died in a fire at a block of flats in North Yorkshire could have been
avoided. As the authorities consider
prosecuting those in charge of the building's fire safety, a mother
demands answers. My daughter was screaming at the
window for help. Also tonight, Baywatch. We find out
just what it takes to become a Bridlington lifeguard. I'm a
terrible lifeguard! And, French fighters. Exclusive
wartime footage of the men who fought the Nazis from an air base
Last year, a man was convicted of the manslaughter of two young
jockeys after setting fire to a block of flats in North Yorkshire.
But Inside Out has discovered the local authority is also considering
legal action against those responsible for the building's fire
safety. I've been investigating whether the deaths of these two
young people could have been avoided.
I want to know how my daughter didn't get out, how was she meant
to get out? They've cut corners and people have died. My daughter's
been tortured to death. We should never have been basically
told that fire safety was satisfactory. It is evident now
that that was not the case. Just over two years ago, two young
people died in a horrific fire in this block of flats in Norton.
Jamie Kyne was just 18 and Jan Wilson was 19 and they were both
promising young jockeys. Like so many other young people who
come here with the love of racing to try and learn their craft, the
two teenagers caught up in this weekend's tragedy were part of a
close community who lived, worked and socialised together.
Peter Brown worked as a caretaker at the flats, called Buckrose court.
He was sent to prison for manslaughter last year after
starting the fire. I don't know who's done it or
what's happened, but it was not me. But Inside Out has discovered that
the North Yorkshire Fire Authority is still investigating what
happened that night more than two years later. But the question is
why? I've travelled to Scotland to meet
Marg wet Rhyl son, whose daughter Jan died at buck rose court. This
rose is called Haydock parbgs where Jan had her first win for us --
Haydock Park. I meet Margaret at the local church where together
with friends and family, she's created a special memorial garden
for her daughter. I don't really have to go any place to think about
her. I would say there's no minute of the day that she's not thought
about. I believe it was about 2.15 in the morning when our pagers went
off. At that point, you just leg it and get to the fire station as
quickly as you can. There was a young girl, she was running around
hysterically as if something had happened and she shouted "fire,
fire, so I "so I ran down to where it was, I couldn't see any flames
at the time. Peter Brown started the fire in the stairwell of the
flats and it went up very quickly, blocking the main means of escape
for those trapped inside. That's when the flames started to
get intense and you could see like a big blue flame, obviously a gas
fire, then the windows started to crack and the frames fell out.
When we got to the stairwell, there was no doubt in our minds that we
shouldn't step on to it. It was clearly very, very unsafe. It was
just smoke and flames. Many of the people living in the
flats jumped from the windows to escape. Jamie and Jan were both in
flat 5 on the second floor which was overcome by fire and they never
made it out. The firefighters who were at the
scene, we did, to the last man, everything we could have done in
that terrible situation. As we came round the corner, there was no
doubt in my mind that if there was anyone in that fire, they were
already deceased. There was no chance anyone could have survived
that. The man who deliberately started the fire, Peter Brown, was
sent to prison last year for the manslaughter of Jan and Jamie, but
for Marg rets Wilson, that's by no means the end of the matter --
Margaret Wilson. I think that shrub mystery fire is
very well named. We are now two years this weekend and I still
haven't got a lot of questions answered about that night.
Margaret contacted me after she discovered that the North Yorkshire
Fire Authority were still investigating the Norton fire. It
seemed that the building, which had been converted to flats three years
earlier, may not have complied with fire safety regulations.
People have not done things for the safety of that building. I think
they're worse than Peter Brown because they're worse than him.
So we decided to ask the North Yorkshire Fire Authority what was
going on. We sent a Freedom of Information request about the fire
at buck rose court and what we discovered made shocking reading --
buck rose court. In this letter from North Yorkshire building
control to the approved inspector at buck rose court, they say the
building has "deviations" from fire safety guidance. Before a block of
flats can be occupied the owners need to obtain what is called a
final certificate confirming that it complies with safety legislation.
JHA innovation issued the certificate but without consulting
the Fire Authority which they are legally obliged to do. We asked a
fire safety expert how serious this breach was. I would say that was a
significant omission on the part of the approved inspector. One might
reasonably argue that the Fire Service would certainly not have
overlooked the facilities for firefighting. So what were the
issues for the firefighting facilitys? Well, firstly the
building had no access for emergency vehicles and was near Le
double the recommended distance from the nearest road.
I'm surprised the approved inspector who dealt with the
approval under the building regulations didn't require
compensatory measures for the distance between the fire appliance
and the block. You could think about putting in a sprinkler system
or install a dry rising main. A dry pipe could obtain water at any
landing level within the flats. JHAI told the BBC that their
sympathies were with the families of those who died and they would
always accepted they made an error in not consultlinging the Fire
Authority. However, they said the approved design did comply with
building regulations and pointed out that it was a deliberate act of
arson that caused the fire. Howard Keal was on the planning committee
which passed the plans. He's very concerned that the issue was not
explored thoroughly enough at the time. If those issues had been
identified when this came to the committee, then there is no
question in my mind whatsoever that those would have been made
conditions and requirements of any approval. Those issues were not
brought to the attention of the committee. Of greater concern from
Jan and Jamie's point of view were the problems inside the building.
All the doors to the flats were fire resistent and supposed to be
self-closing, but the door to flat 5 was faulty and remained open,
engulfing the flat in flames and smoke. With the self-closing doors,
how significant would you say it is that it didn't work? A very major
factor I would have expected in the circumstances of the fire and the
deaths that occurred. The occupants of the flat would have been safe
for a prolonged period of time because the door was designed to be
a fire resisting door, able to withstand fire for 30 minutes or
more. The fire investigation report
mentions what it calls "combustible materials" being stored in the
stairwell. These turned out to be kitchen unit carcasses which were
piled up at the bottom of the stairs. It's that kind of materials
that the Fire Brigade use to demonstrate how quickly a fire can
develop. Basically, within two minutes of them see setting the
units on fire, there was a really well developed fire.
It was similar material that it was in the stairwell, I can fully
understand why the fire developed so quickly.
That's a significant contravention of fire safety legislation. The
fire itself arguably could have been prevented had there not been
combustible materials within the stairwell and if there was no fire,
then clearly there would have been no fatalities. We wrote to Alan who
represents the companies who own and manage the building. He told us
he is working closely with the Fire Authority but that as legal
prosealedings are pending, it would be inappropriate to comment further
at this time -- legal proceedings. It's been more than two years since
Jamie and Jan died at buck rose court and their families are still
awaiting the Fire Authority's decision whether any further action
will be taken. I want to know how my daughter didn't get out, how was
she meant to get out of that flat? My daughter was screaming at the
window for help and it's the only way I can help her now, is to, you
know, stop this happening to somebody else. If there's anybody
the blame, they need sorting out. Buck rose court has been renovated
but remains empty and under a prohibition notice from the Fire
Authority who say they're carrying out an investigation which could
result in criminal proceedings -- buck rose.
Coming up: Little front: The French airmen who flew sorties against
Nazi Germany from a Yorkshire airfield.
Every year, millions of us visit the seaside and here in Bridlington,
they have a team of dedicated lifeguards who work throughout the
summer to keep us all safe. We sent Keeley Donovan to find out just
what it takes to become a lifeguard. Here come the lifeguards. Keeping
us safe when we are on the beach or out at sea. On the East Coast,
they've dealt with more than 400 incidents this summer.
I'm not the world's greatest swimmer, but I've been given the
chance to train as a lifeguard. Let's see if I've got what it takes.
I'm in Bridlington, one of our biggest beaches. When the sun
shines, this place is packed and help is always at hand. I'm joining
the lifeguards who spend the summer making sure holiday-makers stay
safe and sound. Helen Peterson and Ryan Hepworth are lifeguards on
Bridlington's south beach, which stretchs from the harbour, all the
way south to FraisThorpe. What is a typical day for you? We are here
10-6 all day, preventing accidents before they happen and making sure
everyone is safe and having a fun day. What is in store for me?
going to teach you how we enter the water, approach the casualty, bring
them back into shore and carry them. We are going to teach you a lift
that we use. I've got the gear. Let's get
started. Now I'm beginning to look like a lifeguard, time for some
training. We are going to teach you how to do an unconscious tube
rescue. This is the rescue tube that all the lifeguards carry. If
you want to have a feel of it, it's nice and light. That gives the
buoyancy to the casualty. We have a rope here. Pull on here and throw
the thing behind it. When we are ready to go, we can put it on our
shoulder, drag it behind us, then we are ready to reach the casualty.
It's getting tougher. Another lifeguard, Jen Robinson, is
pretending to be a swimmer who needs help.
Swing your bum in. Here you go. Ready, steady, walk. Down to one
knee. Lower. That's it. If you take her hands. You will Ned to take all
her weight. As we lower her -- that's it. Fantastic. It's
strenuous. I don't know how I'm going to do that in the water. I
need to get into the water and there's a special way of dog this,
right? We do a thing called chicken legs which is how we run into the
water without catching our feet on the water and tripping over
basically. OK. I'll do a very quick demonstration to start with. It's
really just running but keeping your knees high, so run along, lift
the knees out the water like so. Here goes. This is the fastest way
to run across shallow water, it just looks a little silly. On the
beach, even in shallow water, conditions can be deceptive.
Let these guys know that the safest places to swim are between the red
flags. Most incidents are painful but routine. This girl's sprained
her ankle. A boy's cut his finger on a piece of glass. This little
boy needs to be brought back after drifting out to sea.
Make sure you stay between the red and yellow flags and try not to go
that far out. If you can't touch the floor, come back in towards the
beach. Back to the training and I have a confession. I've never swum
in the North Sea before, but now I've got to dive in. You have done
your chicken legs at knee depth, then you will use the dolphin dives
to get you through the next part of water until you get to a point
where you can swim. Does the head go under the water? Yes. You are
jumping off the side, diving through the wave, hitting the sand
again, your hands are in front so that hits the ground first, then
pull on the ground to bring your legs through ready to push up for
the next one. Ryan shows me how it should be done. It's not as - easy
as it looks. Do you want to do this together. Breathe through your nose.
Ready? Yes. We are off. I don't know about Helen and Ryan, but I'm
Dolphin dives, but that was more like a belly flop!
We have done the training and I've been in the water, now I'm going to
try and rescue someone. Can you hear me? Jen is pretending to be a
holiday-maker in trouble. It's up to me to help her. I'm checking
whether she's breathing and she is. So now I'm going to try and swim
her back to shore. Now comes the final task to get the casualty out
of the water. We've got to pick her up and try not to drop her. We are
spreading the weight on both our shoulders. It takes balance and a
fair bit of strength. Down to one knee. Lower. It was my
first attempt! I think I need a little more practise. I'm a
terrible lifeguard! So how do you think I did? Could I
be a potential lifeguard? You've grasped the basics quickly. You
need to work on your dolphin diving a little more and it obviously
takes a lot of training to get your fitness up. If you are prepared to
put in the hours on your fitness, you never know. A diplomatic
answer! Everyone gets worried when a child
might have gone into the sea. Today, there's an alert on the beach. A
seven-year-old girl's gone missing. As a search begins, lifeguard Jen
joins the girl's father on the beach.
This gentleman's lost his little girl, so we have got all the
lifeguards out looking for them, someone on the quad bike, someone
in the patrol zone looking for her, someone doing base obs and we are
going to wander on the sand, see if we can find her. The father is
getting concerned. It's 15 minutes since he last saw her. We seem to
have searched the majority of the water. So I reckon getting the
police involved is a good idea, over. Running toward the water last
time you saw her? She's been missing half an hour and the search
intensifies. I'm with the faur by the Spa with some of the police
officers -- father. Waiting for the coastguard, then they're going to
organise a proper search along the beach. Over. The father thinks he
might have spotted her. But it turns out to be a false alarm. Jen
gets some new information from the missing girl's brother and it
sounds worrying. The little boy, his son, was the
last person to be with the missing child and his dad said, was she in
the water and he said yes and he said what happened to her and his
response, because he's only four was, she disappeared like magic, so
I don't know whether she's gone into the sea.
It's an hour since the missing girl disappeared. Everyone's getting
increasingly concerned. It's a huge beach and crowded with people, but
so far, the seven-year-old seems to have vanished without a trace.
Finally, after two hours, it sounds like good news. As you look at the
beach, as far as you can see, Fraisthorpe beach, the child was
found by a farmer up there. They contacted the coastguard, they've
just got down there and confirmed that it was the missing child, so
they're sending the parents down now. Thankfully, this time, there's
a happy ending. For all of us, it's been another busy day at the
seaside. More than 65 years ago, thousands
of bombing raids were launched against Nazi Germany from an
airstrip outside of York. But what makes this story different is that
it wasn't the RAF but two squadrons of French airmen. Lucy Hester has
unearthed some footage of the men, never been seen before.
Europe 1940 and the full force of the German third Reich is unleashed.
It faces overwhelming fire power. Within weeks Paris has fallen and
France surrenders. The world held its breath as the allies teetered
on the brink of catastrophe, but out of the chaos, some French
forces made it to England. 2,500 of them took the fight back to Germany
from right here at Elvington. Elvington had been home to an RAF
bomber squadron, but when they moved out, the French moved in. It
became known as La Petite France. This bit of Yorkshire became a
central part of the campaign to Elvington is now home to the
Yorkshire air museum, but towards the end of the Second World War,
two French squadrons of Halifax bombers were based here. They
launched wave after wave of attacks against the German military machine.
It It meant that they were able to fight back for really the first
time since the Germans had invaded France. It's been said that bomber
command didn't win the war, but without bomber command, the war
wouldn't have been won. I suppose the missions that they had to
undertake meant that the French bomber squadrons were actually
bombing their own country? Yes. One of the very first missions by the
squadron was to bomb the gunning placements on the Normandy beach
head. They wouldn't know why they were doing that. They knew the
target was in France, which must have been quite significant for
them being one of their first missions.-Lucian Mallia was a
Halifax rear gunner and he remembers the night the German
fighters took their revenge. were shot down by German fighters.
They sneaked into England in the midst of a group of bombers. As we
couldn't see each other at night, to avoid the radars, they returned
with us. On each air base, there were two
German fighters and each time we tried to land, they machine gunned
us. We were shot down like that. So we suffered two fighter attacks and
there we caught fire and crashed. The plane on fire. That's my
recollection. By the time of the D-Day landings
in 1944, the French airmen and their crew were a common sight in
York. Here at Betty's tearoom, the men scratched their names in the
mirror. For some girls, a French man in uniform was very difficult
to resist. Many a young woman fell for Gallic
charm, swept off their feet but a handsome young man. One of them was
Freda who was still at school when she met a dashing French aviator.
How old were you when you met Maurice? 17. He was 27. Maurice was
a flight engineer on a Halifax bomber. This is his crew. Maurice
landed in Freda's life when he came to her house to spend Christmas
with her family. Eventually by about 3 o'clock on Christmas Day, a
knock on the door. I went and of course I saw this oh, this
Frenchman standing there in uniform. Oh, the uniform, oh. I just cracked
at the uniform. We went out and played snowball and one of course
hit me and then he put one down my neck and that was the first kiss.
He put snow down my neck. And that started it off.
Freda and Maurice's relationship continued, but the conflict proved
a reality check, why get too close when the survival rate for airmen
was so poor. The attrition rate in these planes
was terrible. 50% of the French bomber crews never made it home and
dozens more were captured after being shot down. But despite the
heavy losses, their determination to take the battle to Germany
remained undiminished. It was night-time and there was no
communications between planes. The only thing that they could do was
hope that the wings did not touch some other wings or something
wouldn't happen from above. Then started the anti-aircraft guns and
also the fighters. They were coming back and they were often pursued by
the fighters. So, of course, this was very dangerous.
The cinema at Elvington air museum, some extraordinary forgotten
footage of the French bomber crews who flew from here.
This film lay undiscovered in an archive for years and has never
been shown before. Part of the propaganda war by the exiled French
government, it's the work of a film crew which followed the airmen of
Elvington into action. It's in French so it's obviously aimed at
the French public. Lots of politics, I mean we have no experience of
modern times of our country being occupied by a foreign power. They
were trying to show that their own people fought to save France and to
liberate France and sacrificed their lives for the general
liberation of Europe. I suppose some of the men that we
see in this film wouldn't have survived the war at all? No. There
are very few films of this nature actually a day in the life we
actually go out on the mission and come back with them and a black
cloud appears and it's an entire aircraft gone in one shot, seven
crew. Disintegrated in a minute. Those
were people they probably just had breakfast with. It's not a
nationalistic thing under any circumstances, it's a job they had
to do in order to free their country.
At the end of the war, the French crews left Elvington to flay to
liberated France, and that ris left too. It seemed that would be the
end of the row main -- Maurice left too. It seemed that would be the
end of the romance. I decided to hang on even though my mother said
there were more pebbles on the beach. From meeting him to being
married, we waited five years. Freda and Maurice were married for
the best part of three years, raising three children. Maurice
died 13 years ago, but for Freda, their marriage proved that in the
worst of times, good things can happen. Back in Elvington, text
ploits of the French bomber crews haven't been forgotten -- exploits.
The top brass of the French and military will make their way to
York, they will come to mark the day that the French crews left
Elvington for good. Time has thinned the numbers of foreign
airmen who were proud to call Elvington their home. A few of the
survivors will return this week to mark a small chapter of World War
II history and this piece of Yorkshire -- when this piece of
Yorkshire became a key part of the battle to liberate France.
Jamie Coulson investigates the deaths of two young jockeys in a horrific arson attack - and discovers that the local authority is considering prosecuting those in charge of the building's fire safety. He also tries to find out how the building was awarded a final certificate when it did not comply with fire safety legislation. Also, Keeley Donovan finds out what it's like to become a lifeguard in Bridlington, and Lucy Hester unveils extraordinary unseen footage of the Free French bomber squadrons flying dangerous missions out of North Yorkshire during World War II. Their air base near York became to be known as La Petite France.