Leeds Majestic fire: Man denies arson

The Majestyk nightclub in Leeds
The Majestyk nightclub in Leeds
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A man has denied causing the huge fire that tore through The Majestic building in Leeds on Tuesday night.

Stuart James Jefferson appeared at Leeds Magistrates’ Court this morning (Thursday) charged with arson.

During a ten-minute hearing the 32-year-old, who gave his address as Broadlea Street in Bramley, Leeds, pleaded not guilty.

District Judge Roy Anderson gave him unconditional bail, but the prosecution immediately appealed the decision.

A crown court judge must now decide within 48 hours whether to grant him bail.

The case will then be dealt with at the crown court, where the first hearing is due to take place on October 16.

Tuesday’s fire destroyed the domed roof of the 1921 grade II-listed building, which was a cinema, ballroom and bingo hall before being turned into the Majestyk nightclub.

At its height 75 firefighters were involved in efforts to save it.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it was still at the scene today while a safety team removed loose objects and debris from the building and ensured it was secure.

Assistant district commander for Leeds, Nigel Kirk, said: “We are working alongside building surveyors in an advisory capacity today to make the building safe.

“We are confident that the fire is now out, however, a crew from Leeds fire station is making two-hourly re-visits to the site as a precaution today to ensure that absolutely no hotspots remain.

“We are aware that there may be some disruption to members of the public in order for us to gain access to the site. However, we have tried to rotate road closures to minimise this.”

Quebec Street was closed for part of the morning and Wellington Street will be closed this afternoon.

Mr Kirk added: “We are hoping that the fire service will leave this site in the hands of building surveyors by teatime. We appreciate the public’s patience as we go about our duties.”

Despite the extensive damage, it is believed the building itself is structurally sound and could be restored.