Fireman goes on trial accused of manslaughter

A fireman who was the landlord of a house in Prestatyn has gone on trial accused of manslaughter. Credit: ITV Wales

A fireman who was the landlord of a house in Prestatyn, where five people died in an arson attack, has gone on trial accused of manslaughter.

Jay Liptrot, 43, was the owner of the property in Maes y Groes where a couple and three children were killed by an arsonist in October 2012.

Melanie Smith, 43, who lived in the bottom flat, was convicted of the murders and jailed for a minimum of 30 years in 2013, after setting fire to a pushchair in the hall.

Mr Liptrot was one of the first firemen on the scene and is said to have taken part in valiant efforts to save the family but allegedly he had failed to guard against the risk of fire for those living upstairs.

The jury at Caernarfon Crown Court were told that a door between the communal hallway and stairs leading to the maisonette, had failed to provide a fire-barrier.

The court heard how flames had torn through the thin wood and door and in a few minutes and funneled heat and smoke upstairs "like a chimney".

Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, her partner Liam Timbrell, 23, their 15-month-old son Charlie Timbrell, and Lee-Anna's nephew Bailey Allen, four, and niece Skye Allen, two, were all killed in the blaze.

The prosecutor said that Mr Liptrot, who owned eleven properties in Prestatyn, had failed to put in place basic precautions such as fire doors.

He told the jury that as a firefighter for 15 years the defendant would have been aware of the safeguards that were necessary for the property.

The case continues.