A CARE home worker accused of starting the blaze which killed a dementia sufferer has seen a murder charge against her dropped.
Rebecca Reasbeck, of Upper Park Road, St Leonards, was working at the home in nearby Bexhill when a fire claimed the life of 85-year-old Irene Herring.
And for the last two weeks, the 20-year-old has been facing charges of murder and manslaughter at Lewes Crown Court – with the prosecution claiming she started the fire in order to be hailed a heroine for raising the alarm.
This week however, the more serious charge of murder was dropped – leaving Reasbeck facing just the lesser charge of manslaughter.
If found guilty, though, she could still face life behind bars.
Earlier in the trial, the court heard the prosecution claim that Reasbeck had started two fires in the pensioner’s room back in February 2009 and that she had told colleagues she could smell smoke two minutes before the fire alarms went off.
Taking the stand this week, though, Reasbeck denied starting the fires and said the chain of events she had told police upon her arrest had been noted down incorrectly.
She claims that she had been asking colleagues about a “horrible smell” a good 20 or 30 minutes before the alarms went off after returning from a cigarette break.
Reasbeck, who was working at the Bupa-run Ancaster Court home, also denies starting the fires as a way of getting attention.
The trial continues.