October 19, 2012
Prestatyn, Denbighshire, Wales
Melanie Smith sets fire to a pushchair, killing two adults and three children
Smith and partners Liam Timbrell and Lee-Anna Shiers had had a tenuous neighborly relationship. Smith had become angry at a pushchair (stroller) frequently being left outside her flat in the building’s communal hallway, as well as cigarette butts being left tossed on the ground. In her anger, Smith set fire to the pushchair and, according to Timbrell, opened the flat’s letterbox to shout “I’m going to burn your house down.”
After the fire was started, neighbors attempted to help rescue the family but the fire’s intense 200°C (392°F) heat kept them at bay. Shiers and her niece and nephew Skye (2) and Bailey (4), died in the fire together in a bedroom. Timbrell, whose call to 999 included frantic screams of “oh my God, oh my God, we’re going to die,” and his son Charlie (15 months) died later in the hospital; Charlie died the same day while Timbrell lived for three weeks before succumbing to his burns, during which time he was able to state what Smith had yelled through his letterbox.
During trial, Smith’s pattern of cruelty was brought to light by her ex-husband, Paul Smith, who recounted Melanie putting out cigarettes on her baby’s forehead and locking her toddler in a cupboard as punishment. Additionally, it was suggested Smith’s anger rose from seeing Shiers and Timbrell in a happy relationship and she found their noises during sex to be distressing.
After deliberating for 15 hours, the jury found Smith was guilty. She was subsequently sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Pictured: top left, Skye; top right, Charlie; bottom left, Liam Timbrell (23) and Lee-Anna Shiers (20); bottom right, Bailey. Right, Melanie Smith (43)
Source: Daily Mail
Temperatures in the flat rose high enough to melt the plastic from this television
A poignant picture taken within the crime scene shows a burned picture reading “BABY”