An arsonist who started a fire at a block of flats that killed two men and left two others seriously injured was facing eviction and wanted to kill as many of his neighbours as possible, a court has heard.
Hakeem Kigundu, 32, started a fire at a block of flats in Rowe Court, Reading, where he was previously living, on 15 December last year.
The fire then spread, causing major damage to the building, trapping residents inside.
Two of the residents – Richard Burgess, 46, and Neil Morris, 45 – were killed. Two other people were seriously injured.
Other people living in the building were left homeless and all their possessions were destroyed, while the bodies of the victims were not recovered for several weeks.
Kigundu pleaded not guilty in March but last month pleaded guilty at Reading Crown Court to two counts of murder, two counts of grievous bodily harm and one count of arson with intent to endanger life.
During his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors said Kigundu soaked the area in petrol before lighting the fire that spread rapidly through the building.
He recorded himself in a 'diary' just six days before the murders, warning he would carry out the killings.
The prosecutor told Reading Crown Court: "In the early hours of 15 December, the defendant carried out a pre-meditated and devastating attack of arson with the intent of killing and hurting as many people as possible.
"Those events were carefully planned by him in days and weeks before, including sourcing a significant quantity of petrol to be used in that attack.
"In a message six days before the attack, he recalled his hatred of those around him and desire to cause their deaths. He lit the fire in the middle of the night when he knew it would cause the maximum amount of death, harm and destruction.
"That catastrophic fire led to the deaths of Neil Morris and Richard Burgess.
"Both were unable to escape the overwhelming effect of the smoke and flames.
"Others were left with no option but to jump from buildings to save themselves, suffering significant injuries in the process.
"Countless other people were harmed and lost all their possessions in the blaze."
The court heard the flats were arranged over three floors and shocking video footage was shown revealing the scale of damage both inside and outside the block.
All homes were destroyed.
The court also heard the defendant was believed to be an Ugandan national, who had entered Britain illegally using his brother's passport.
He signed a 12-month tenancy in November 2020, but had caused annoyance with his neighbours over noise complaints.
He was given an eviction notice by his landlord and told to vacate by 14 December. He also lost his job for BT around the same time.
The prosecution said: "The combination of a loss of employment and anger over eviction was beginning of the steps of preparation in relation to the attack."
Video played to the court showing him filling up containers with petrol just two days before the attack as well as other items he used in the attack.
The two-day sentencing hearing continues.