A 31-year-old man accused of murdering his neighbour and her two young children has been told he will face a trial next year.
Jamie Barrow, from Clifton, Nottingham, was arrested after a flat fire in the early hours killed Fatimah Drammeh, aged three, and Naeemah Drammeh, one.
Their mother Fatoumatta Hydara, 28, died in hospital two days later, after suffering smoke inhalation in the blaze at her home in Fairisle Close, Clifton.
Barrow, of Fairisle Close, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday for a short hearing which lasted seven minutes - and was attended by 12 members of the victims’ family, including the children’s father Aboubacarr Drammeh.
Mr Drammeh, 40, issued a statement at the weekend in which he described how he had to identify his loved ones’ bodies in a hospital mortuary, on his birthday.
He has previously described the deaths as “inconceivable” and paid tribute to his wife, a former voluntary worker, as a gentle person who was kind to everyone she met.
Barrow appeared in the dock wearing a plain grey long-sleeved top and jogging bottoms, and spoke only to confirm his name.
Adjourning the case, Judge Nirmal Shant KC told Barrow: “Stand up please. Your trial is fixed for the 22nd of May.
“There will be other hearings before that and the next hearing date, as far as you are concerned, will be the 17th of February. In the meantime you are remanded in custody.”
Following the hearing, in which legal submissions were made by defence and prosecution barristers, Judge Shant thanked everyone present in court for keeping “understandable” emotions in check.
The trial of Barrow, who arrived at court from prison around an hour late, is likely to last for up to three weeks, the court heard.