Arson Suspect Released

A man accused of setting fire to a former Leeds nightclub was mistakenly released from court custody Oct. 2, leading local police on a 90-minute search.

Photo: West Yorkshire Fire Service
Photo provided to BBC News. 

Stuart Jefferson denied starting the fire that a couple of days earlier had almost destroyed the Majestyk. He was granted unconditional bail while a trial date was fixed.

Even before the prosecution successfully appealed the bail, the court staff released Jefferson and he’d disappeared into the centre of the city. He was later found and returned to court.

Dozens of firefighters worked through the night to tackle the blaze at the Grade II-listed premises, the home of the Majestic cinema in the 1920s.

Eyewitness Leon Baranowski said the flames were 50 feet high.

The building’s most recent use was the Majestyk nightclub, but earlier it had also served as a ballroom and bingo club. The building hadn’t been used for years, but it had recently been refurbished and was due to reopen as a live music venue.