A police officer has told a trial a man accused of starting a fire in the basement of a block of flats said “voices” told him to do it.
Crews were called to the scene in St Clair Street in the city in the early hours of February 17 last year and residents had to climb out of first and second floor windows and down a ladder to safety.
Five people were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Lee Munro, 19, is standing trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court accused of starting the blaze deliberately by setting fire to a mattress in the basement.
Munro, whose address was given in court papers as Long Walk Road, Aberdeen, denies a charge of wilful fireraising over the incident.
He also denies a second charge of wilfully setting fire to a car at Links View, Aberdeen, on February 16 last year.
Yesterday PC Nicola Murray gave evidence and, under questioning from depute fiscal Anna Chisholm, told the court about comments made by Munro during a journey in a police car to Kittybrewster police station.
Asked what was said, PC Murray replied: “While sitting in the back of the vehicle the accused made admissions regarding fires at the weekend in relation to a car and basement of a flat he lit on fire.”
Ms Chisholm asked what Munro had actually said.
The officer replied: “Voices tell me to do it.
“I did a car on Friday near to the beach and flats in a basement.”
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Asked if the police had mentioned either fire to Munro, PC Murray said: “No. He started discussing that.”
During cross examination by defence agent Lynn Bentley, the solicitor said to the witness: “Do you remember Mr Munro saying something like ‘do you know who I am’?”
She said she did not and Ms Bentley went on: “‘Do you know who I am? I’m Lee Munro.’?”
PC Murray said: “I don’t recall that.”
The defence agent said: “Mr Munro is adamant that he didn’t make any mention of the car fire or the basement and that you’re mistaken about them.”
She replied: “No. He absolutely made those comments.”
PC Alan Duncan also gave evidence regarding Munro being cautioned and charged in relation to the car fire.
Ms Chisholm said: “Was anything said by Mr Munro?”
PC Duncan replied: “He said at the time he understood and made no reply, but then volunteered and said ‘I only set one car on fire’.”
The witness added Munro volunteered the comment “without prompting”.
The trial, before Sheriff Philip Mann, continues.