Scott Jackson, of Hull, was quickly arrested and later admitted arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered
This frightening CCTV footage captures the moment an arsonist strolled calmly into the basement of a packed nightclub and started a blaze.
Scott Jackson, 24, lit the fire in a basement storeroom at Valbon nightclub in Hull, East Yorks., on February 20 – just a week after the venue opened.
The footage, from a corridor in the nightclub , shows Jackson go into a storeroom, before sparks and flashes can be seen from inside.
Jackson appears to pull the door closed behind him, before emerging, strolling off and fleeing through a basement door.
Smoke then starts to appear from inside the cupboard, getting thicker before it billows down the corridors.
The fire, which was started among cleaning products on a shelf, began to burn through the ceiling and staff, alerted by a warning light, investigated and sounded the alarm.
The building – and between 250 and 300 people – were successfully evacuated.
Jackson, of Hull, was quickly arrested and later admitted arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered.
He is in custody and awaiting sentence.
Warren Scott, 23, Jackson’s co-accused, also entered the storeroom but was captured by the club’s CCTV leaving before the fire was started.
Mr Scott, also of Hull, stood trial at Hull Crown Court accused of the same offence, which he denied.
He was formally found not guilty yesterday on the direction of trial judge Jeremy Richardson QC.
The judge ruled there was no case to answer following legal submissions by defence barrister Richard Thompson.
Judge Richardson QC told a jury of nine women and three men: “In order to be guilty of a crime, you have to be a participant in it.
“Mere presence at the scene of a crime is not enough – indeed, even if you know a crime is being committed and you do nothing to stop it, you may be morally guilty, but you are not in law guilty.”
Jackson and Mr Scott had spent the previous evening drinking in the city centre before entering the club in George Street.
It is not known why Jackson started the fire.
The blaze was put out by firefighters, and although “significant damage” was caused, nobody was injured and the club has since reopened.
Jackson will be sentenced at the same court within a month on a date to be set.
Original source: Mirror