Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

Father on trial over baby's death

Annalise Middleton
Annalise Middleton died in the fire at the house in Brae

A man has gone on trial accused of murdering his baby daughter by setting fire to the family home in Shetland.

It is claimed William Middleton, 32, murdered nine-month-old Annalise Middleton and attempted to murder two other children, aged six and three.

The baby died after she was overcome by smoke in the fire at the house in Brae, Shetland, in September last year.

Mr Middleton, who is also accused of sexual assault against a woman at another address, denies the charges.

He has also lodged a special defence of consent to the sexual assault allegation.

'Almost certain'

The trial at the High Court in Aberdeen, which is expected to last 10 days, heard from fire investigator Stuart Mortimore.

He said that it was "almost certain" the fires were deliberately started in the downstairs bedroom and the hallway of the house.

Mr Mortimore said he had ruled out the possibility that one may have spread from another room.

The trial continues.



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