Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting TIMES NEWS to 80360, or email us
30 years for 'despicable' murderer
Melanie Smith started the devastating blaze because she was angry the pushchair had been left in a shared hallway
A woman who murdered five members of a family, including three young children, has been branded "despicable" by their relatives as she was jailed for at least 30 years.
Alcoholic Melanie Smith, 43, started the devastating blaze because she was angry that a pushchair had been left in a shared hallway close to the front door of her flat.
Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, her four-year-old nephew Bailey and two-year-old niece Skye were trapped in their upstairs flat and died in the arson attack in North Wales on October 19 last year. Firefighters managed to rescue Ms Shiers's 15-month-old son Charlie and his father Liam Timbrell, 23, but they died in hospital.
Smith, who lived in the flat below the victims in Maes y Groes, Prestatyn, was jailed for life after being convicted of five counts of murder by a jury at Mold Crown Court last Tuesday.
Steve Allen, the father of Bailey and Skye, told a press conference after the court hearing that he had been looking forward to seeing them grow up.
"Instead, one despicable person has taken them away," he said.
He added: "Nothing will ever bring any of our family back to us, but Melanie Smith will now be given what she deserves."
Mr Justice Griffith-Williams told Smith that at first it seemed unlikely a mother-of-five with no previous convictions could set fire to a house with people in it. But, after hearing the evidence, he said he was satisfied that Smith set fire to the pushchair.
He said Smith was motivated by jealousy due to her faltering relationship with Stephen Clarkson, whom she accused of cheating on her with a woman called Samantha Schofield - a woman she hated with a passion that, coupled with her drinking, had taken over her life.
"The setting-fire to the pushchair was an act of exceptional wickedness, almost unparalleled in its consequences," the judge said.