Threats were made to kill a "family from hell" hours before a man died in a blaze at his home, a court has been told.

Gordon Graham, 43, lost his life after the fire tore through his flat in Fraserburgh on May 3, 1998.

Barry Henderson, 42, has denied murdering Mr Graham and attempting to murder his wife Anne by setting fire to material on the stairs and landing of their close.

On Wednesday, a trial at the High Court in Glasgow heard evidence from Jeff Simpson, a fire safety worker from Fraserburgh.

Mr Simpson said he could not remember exactly what happened on the night of Mr Graham's death but told prosecutor Jim Keegan QC that what he told police in a statement given on May 10, 1998 was the truth.

In it, Mr Simpson said he was walking past takeaway Sugar and Spice when he saw Henderson lying on the floor and being repeatedly punched and kicked in the face.

He claimed one of those assaulting Henderson was Gordon Graham's son Dean.

Mr Simpson and friends, who were on a pool team night out with Henderson, went to his aid.

In the statement, Mr Simpson said: "Anne Graham, with a child in her arms, came running out of a flat and it appeared the Grahams had people coming from everywhere.

"I also know that Gordon Graham had appeared from the flat. He was in his bare feet. He was running about with his shirt open.

"I didn't know any of the others. There must have been 12 of them including the six involved in the assault."

Mr Simpson then told police that Henderson came running out of the shop .

He added: "It was at this time that Gordon Graham attempted to calm down his family.

"During the fight there were threats made. Both sides made threats to kill. I definitely said to the Grahams I would kill them. I also heard others say that.

"It was said in the heat of the moment and I did not mean it. I can't say who else threatened to kill them or vice-versa."

The court heard Henderson suffered cuts to both eyes and burst lips in the incident.

Mr Simpson said he, Henderson and other friends then went to nearby nightclub Deejays and were there until it closed at about 2am.

He was asked by defence QC Brian McConnachie: "Your statement tells us you were in the car park of Deejays in the company of Barry Henderson and others at 2.15am?"

He replied: "That's correct."

Fiona Lawless. 48, who worked in Sugar and Spice at the time, told the court she saw Mr Graham and his other two sons David and James in the shop during the incident.

Mr McConnachie said to Ms Lawless: "The Grahams came with a reputation, deserved or otherwise?"

She said: "That's correct."

The court has heard the Grahams, who had moved to the town from Fife three years before the fire, were known locally as the "family from hell".

Henderson denies all the charges against him and has lodged special defences of alibi and incrimination.