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This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation

 

 

Monday, 26 November 2007, 18:59 GMT
Widower talks of blaze heartbreak


The widower of a British tourist who died in a fire in South Africa said he has been left heartbroken by trial delays over the past 18 months.

Janet Chesworth, 65, who had been hiking with her daughter, died of smoke inhalation following the fire on Table Mountain in January 2006.

Anthony Cooper, 36, from Brighton, is due to stand trial accused of arson and culpable homicide on Tuesday.

Jim Chesworth said he was concerned that there were no more delays.

'A just conclusion'

Mr Chesworth, of Sedgley, West Midlands, who was married to Janet for 35, years, added: "Since it happened it has been heartbreaking.

"The case has been delayed many times which is hard for us as a family.

"It is very difficult and I find it hard to talk about it, but what we have said is that the family continues to follow the proceeding in South Africa and we are concerned that the case is not delayed any further."

"We trust that the court will reach a just and fair conclusion."

More than 150 firefighters together with water-carrying helicopters struggled to bring the blaze under control.

It is alleged Mr Cooper flicked a burning cigarette into the brush and was seen by mountain rangers who eventually arrested him.

At a previous hearing the defence counsel said Mr Cooper had a right to a speedy trial.