Family narrowly escapes drug dealer's exploded house, court hears
A terrified family have told how they escaped from a chaotic scene as a drug dealer’s house was about to explode, a court has heard.
Christopher Clovis, from Crichton Road, Battersea, described how he helped his partner, her young daughter and baby niece flee their apartment after they were awoken by a loud bang.
Mr Clovis described seeing smoke and flames coming from the apartment opposite which belonged to Leroy Burnett, 43.
The prosecution alleges that a drugs gang executed Mr Burnett, one of their alleged dealers, and then blew up his house, also in Crichton Road, to cover up the murder.
While giving evidence at the Old Bailey on Friday (March 2), Mr Clovis told how he heard neighbours shouting "It’s going to blow", urging him and his family to return to their homes.
The Battersea resident described how a large piece of glass which fell from a window narrowly missed them.
Mr Clovis told how he heard neighbours shouting
He said: "We needed to evacuate. My car was parked outside the front, but bricks had fallen down so I couldn’t get through.
"The five-year-old and the niece were put in the car as the window came crashing down and smashed on the floor, just next to us."
Mr Clovis managed to get his family and their two dogs into his car but their escape route was blocked by a number of obstacles including bricks.
They eventually escaped to safety through a nearby park where the gates, which are usually bolted, were fortunately not locked that night.
Lorraine Lomath, another witness, told the court how she knew Mr Burnett personally but said he would change after smoking cocaine.
She said: "He was lovely when he wasn’t smoking. He was a nice man. I constantly tried to help him, sort him out.
"But it was his lifestyle, that’s the way he chose it, he couldn’t help it."
Colliston Edwards, 38, and Andre Johnson, 25, both of no fixed abode, have denied murdering Mr Burnett after he had allegedly kept money from several drug deals. The pair then recruited Max Walter, 21, also of no fixed abode, to blow up the house.
He has already pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and arson, but denies reckless endangerment of life.
The trial, which is expected to last for six weeks, continues.