The father of two children, murdered by a woman in a drunken rage, spoke today of his grief that he would never see them grow up.Read the full story ›
Karen Dixon, District Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wales, said:
Melanie Smith has today been sentenced for starting a devastating fire that had an immensely distressing outcome.
She did so knowing that a family with children lived in the flat upstairs and with no regard for the consequences.
At no stage has she has chosen to take any responsibility for the five lives tragically lost as a result of her actions.
Today’s sentencing has at least ensured that she has had to face up to that responsibility in a criminal court.
Melanie Smith’s conviction and sentence is a direct result of swift and decisive investigative work from North Wales Police and specialist fire investigators and I would like to thank them for their professionalism.
I would also like to thank the very many people who have supported the prosecution of this case, either through providing statements or information to the police, or by giving evidence directly in court.
Jonty Lewis, the mother of four-year-old Bailey and two-year-old Skye who were killed by Melanie Smith when she set fire to a pushchair, wrote in a statement:
People always ask me if I'm okay: I lie. In truth my heart is not just broken, it's been torn apart. How do you put in words the pain of your children being murdered. How do you stop asking yourself questions, what if.
When I wake up in the morning, that first minute is beautiful. In that 60 seconds I feel no pain, and I'm just listening for the laughter and footsteps running across the landing in the hope my bedroom door will fly open and they will come in, jump onto the bed so that I can smother them in kisses.
It is then that reality sets in. My heart is wrenched and the heavy empty feeling engulfs me. I realise that I will never hold my children's hands again, teach them to ride a bike, the 'normal' things a parent should be allowed to do.
Christmas, birthdays, nothing will ever be the same. Not only have my children been murdered but my family's future has been stolen from us, yes I have got memories, I've got pictures but I want them here. I want them back to make new memories, to take new pictures, to kiss Bailey's cheeky cheeks and paint Skye's pretty little nails.
If I'd known the final time that I kissed my babies goodbye was the last time, I would have hugged them that little bit harder. My babies were loved.
I just wish they were here for me to tell them.
Melanie Smith, who murdered five members of a family when she set fire to her neighbour's pushchair, was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum 30 years at Mold Crown Court today.
A woman who started a devastating fire which killed five members of a family will be sentenced for their murders today.
Alcoholic Melanie Smith set her neighbour's pushchair alight because she was angry it had been left in a shared hallway close to the front door of her flat.
Smith was found guilty of five counts of murder by a jury at Mold Crown Court last Tuesday and will be sentenced this morning at the same court at 10am.
Steve Allen, who lost his children Bailey and Skye, and his sister Lee-Anna, in the Prestatyn fire has spoken exclusively to Daybreak about what he saw that day.
He said: "Liam [the father of Mr Allen's nephew] was on the floor, quite badly burned, I went to speak to him and I got told not to touch him because of the conditions, I went towards the house and that's when I realised how serious it was with all the smoke and flames.
"There was smoke coming out the front door and obviously I was shouting things because my kids were still stuck inside with my sister.
"There was nothing nobody could do, they tried, give them credit, we stood there, we watched them and they were trying."
A "drunk and jealous" woman has been found guilty of murdering five members of the same family after she started a blaze at their home.Read the full story ›
A "drunk and jealous" woman has been found guilty of murdering five members of the same family - three of them young children.
Melanie Smith, 43, was said to be "in a rage" when she deliberately set fire to a pushchair in the hallway of a property in Prestatyn, North Wales.
The fire claimed the lives of Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, her four-year-old nephew, Bailey Allen, and two-year-old niece, Skye Allen.
Ms Shiers' 15-month-old son Charlie and his father Liam Timbrell, 23, were rescued from the flat, but they died later in hospital.
Today, the children's grandmother, Joy Shiers, said she had lost everything.
ITV News Correspondent Damon Green reports:
Joy Shiers, the mother of Prestatyn fire victim Lee-Anna Shiers, has told reporters: "We're overjoyed that we've got justice."
She added: "We want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us and helped us through this horrible time."
The family say they want to 'get on with normal life' following the verdict, adding: "Our angels would want us to carry on."
Neighbour Melanie Smith will be sentenced next month after being found guilty of five counts of murder.
During the three-week trial, the jury heard that Melanie Smith had a "propensity" to threaten people by saying she would burn their houses down "with their children inside" and made a string of threats to Lee-Anna Shiers in the weeks before the fire.
The court heard Smith had become increasingly angry with Ms Shiers, accusing the young mother of being a noisy and untidy neighbour, and had complained to others about the pushchair being left in the hallway.
Ian Murphy QC, for the prosecution, told the jury that Smith was drunk and started the fire "in a rage" after hearing Ms Shiers and Mr Timbrell having sex upstairs.
The court was played a harrowing 999 call in which Mr Timbrell shouted, "Oh my God, oh my God, we're going to die".
The jury was told that Mr Timbrell later told paramedics that "it was arson" and "it was Mel from downstairs" after he said he heard her shouting through the letterbox that she was going to burn the house down.