Man accused of murdering baby argued with his wife
A man argued with his wife over flirting with teenage girls minutes before his house went on fire killing his baby girl, a court heard on Wednesday.
Billy Middleton was allegedly drinking alcohol with three teenagers and his 24-year-old wife Kareen on the night of the blaze in September last year.
A 15-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Middleton had helped the girls pitch a tent in the garden of the house at 1 Burgadale, Brae.
And she claimed he made a flirty comment after they decided to take the tent inside the family home.
Giving evidence at the High Court in Aberdeen, the schoolgirl said Middleton had bought the girls alcopops at the local shop and they had been having a good time.
Asked if the mood of the night changed, she replied: “Kareen thought that Billy was flirting with us.”
Advocate depute Jock Thomson asked: “Do you know why she thought that? ”
She replied: “He said to us ‘I wish I had met you two before I met my wife’.”
The girl said his wife Kareen and her 14-year-old friend had been chatting in the kitchen at the time.
She said: “She came through to the sitting room and was shouting at Billy. Kareen and Billy continued to argue then he left the house for a few minutes.”
The court heard Middleton started arguing with her friend when he returned.
She said: “He started to blame her for everything that happened and said that she was causing trouble between them.”
Earlier the court heard Kareen had burst into tears because she had heard her 32-year-old husband flirting with one of the girls.
One of the teenagers, who was in the house, said she had also heard the comment while talking to his wife in the kitchen.
The teenager told the court Middleton had argued with his wife before she put on her jacket and left the house.
Asked what happened next, she replied: “Billy came in and said it was all my fault if she went off with another bloke.
“He said ‘whatever happens tonight’ was my fault. He was really angry, he was kind of raising his voice when he said it to me.”
She said the teenagers then went for a walk in the park and came back a short while later to find the house on fire.
Asked if she saw Kareen when she returned, she said: “I saw Kareen on the ground getting held down by about four or five people and she was screaming. She was screaming ‘my baby’.”
Earlier, a six-year-old child who was staying in the house told how she had fled the family home when she was woken up by a smoke alarm.
The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I got out of my bed and ran downstairs. I screamed.”
She said she was with a three-year-old boy when she saw Middleton at his bedroom door.
She said: “He said ‘save yourselves’. That was when I went outside. I was in the square then went back and could see in the window there was flashing orange lights.”
Middleton is accused of murdering his baby daughter and attempting to murder two other children by setting his Shetland house on fire on September 20 last year.
He is further accused of sexually assaulting a woman while she was pregnant on various dates between April and September 2008 at a different address on the island but has lodged the special defence of consent.
He denies all charges.
The trial continues tomorrow.