A TATTOO artist denied that he was responsible for starting the fire that killed his girlfriend in the flat they shared in Kidderminster in a bid to get re-housed.

Fabian Robusinski was giving evidence at Worcester Crown Court on the third day of the trial of 43-year-old Mark Moat, who has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of 22-year-old Sandra Nowocinska.

He told the jury how he wrapped his girlfriend and her five-year-old son in wet blankets and put them in the shower with the water running when he smelled smoke in the tiny flat in the Horsefair on November 27, 2014.

He had parked his motorbike and carried out repairs near the waste bins where the fire started.

Robusinski eventually jumped from a first-floor window to escape the flames but his girlfriend was trapped and died four days later from the effects of fumes. Her son, who was rescued, recovered after suffering burns.

Robusinski, who gave evidence with the help of an interpreter, outlined the boy-girl romance which began in Poland and Ireland and ended up in the Midlands. He was not the father of the boy but he accepted it when they began living together.

He worked from a tattoo shop in Oxford Street, Kidderminster, but occasionally treated clients at home. He added that he was a heroin user and would sometimes accept payment in drugs.

His wage varied between £80 to £300 a week and he admitted he had got into debt for the rent of the tiny flat where her son had the only bedroom and the couple slept on a sofa bed in the main room.

He owed the landlord £1,400 but Abigail Nixon, defending Moat, suggested that a fire could cancel the debt or lead to the family being re-housed.

Moat also lived in one of the flats above a row of shops and was found hanging out of a window by firefighters. He asked them what had been going on.

He denies the unlawful killing of Miss Nowocinska and damaging by fire five homes while being reckless about whether lives would be endangered.

He also denies damaging by fire a chair at the back of the flats in August, 2014, but admits threatening to destroy the Crystal cafe, a business that used to be run under the flats. The trial continues.