SINISTER details of two defendants' alleged links to the drugs underworld were revealed as they went on trial for the murder of a mother and her young son in a house fire.

Andrew Milne and Jacob (Jake) Barnard are accused of killing Gina Ingles, 34, and her four-year-old son Milo Ingles-Bailey in Eastbourne.

They are also accused of the attempted murder of Ms Ingles’ partner Toby Jarrett, who escaped the fire with serious burns at the terraced property in Croxden Way.

At Brighton Crown Court it was claimed the two men worked in cahoots to pour petrol through the letterbox to enforce a drugs debt owed by Mr Jarrett.

Kate Lumsdon QC, prosecuting, told the court Jarrett owed his dealer John Sanders £400, who in turn owed £1,800 to “top man” Barnard who ran the drugs operation from Portugal.

Ms Lumsdon said: “It was a particular drug debt and the general message sent out to the wider drug community – don’t mess with this drug line.”

The prosecution said Barnard, 31, was found in possession of drugs and weapons where he lived in Portugal and was convicted.

Portuguese police found a “debtors list” which showed how Barnard owed him cash.

Meanwhile Milne, 42, is alleged to have acted as an “enforcer”, a claim he denies, for Barnard.

It was claimed that Milne offered former neighbour Wayne Dedman work alongside him as a drug debt collector.

Ms Lumsdon said he offered work to go into a flat in Eastbourne, force their way in, restrain anyone present and “brand” them, i.e cut the debtor with a knife.

Ms Lumsdon said: “The reason for doing this job was that ‘it was just some ‘junkie’ in Eastbourne who owed his mate in Portugal money’.”

Later Mr Dedman had borrowed a hammer off Milne, who requested it back as it was his “special hammer”, and Mr Dedman said that he would need to wipe his DNA off the weapon as he did not want to be linked to violent crime.

A police raid at Milne’s home found a hoard of weapons in a shed which included knives, an extendable baton, a Taser, gloves and a balaclava, the court heard.

Ms Ingles and Milo died from smoke inhalation as the flames ripped through their home in the early hours of July 10, 2018.

Firefighters found a petrol can and cigarette lighter outside the front entrance, with Milne’s DNA on the petrol can and Barnard’s DNA on the lighter.

The prosecution case says a Mercedes linked to Barnard was driven to Eastbourne in the early hours of the morning, and driven away from the town shortly after the fire.

John Tabakis, 30, of Hastings, is accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice by driving the vehicle to Portugal to be sold after the crime, a charge Tabakis denies.

Barnard, of Eastbourne and of Portugal, denies two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Milne, of Hastings, denies two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder and one count of possessing a prohibited weapon.

The trial continues.