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Woman denies fire deaths

Melanie Smith denies starting the fire and causing the deaths of five people Credit: Jeff Pitt

A 43-year-old woman has denied murdering five people after a house fire in Prestatyn.

Melanie Jane Smith, from Prestatyn, appeared at Caernarfon crown court via video link and pleaded not guilty to the murders of Liam Timbrell, 23, his partner Lee-Anna Shiers, aged 20, 15-month-old son Charlie, and Lee-Anna’s niece and nephew, Skye and Bailey Allen, two and four.

All five died following a blaze in flats in Maes Y Groes, Prestatyn on October 19 last year.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC remanded Ms Smith in custody until a hearing on March 18. Her trial is due to take place in April. She also denied threatening to burn down a house in September.


Driver loses appeal over family deaths

A 25 year-old man from Powys who was jailed for four years at Caernarfon Crown Court in August after been convicted of four counts of causing death by careless driving has been told his sentence was fair.

Gordon Dyche, collided with a family's car as he tried to overtake, causing the people-carrier to flip over into a reservoir near Llanidloes.

Emyr Griffith and Phyllis Hooper of Pontypridd along with two teenagers died. Only the driver, Denise Griffith and the family dog, escaped. Dyche's lawyers claimed he was treated too harshly.

War veteran swindled £312,000 from elderly

Ian Maxwell (seen here wearing glasses) at Caernarfon crown court Credit: Rob Formstone

A Falklands war veteran was jailed for two years today for cheating three elderly women out of £312,000.

61-year-old Ian Maxwell, from Wrexham, admitted seven counts of fraud in Caernarfon crown court.

The court heard how he made the women believe he was investing in their savings. One of the women, his aunt, a dementia sufferer, was left £10,000 overdrawn.

It is believed the former RAF flight commander spent some of the money on jewellery and an expensive car.

The defence barrister John Wyn Williams told the judge it was a tragic day for Maxwell and his family. Counsel said: ”He stands before you a broken man. From his high achievements in life he’s spiralled down to the bottom.”