Fire murders accused 'made threats'

This Is Local London: Lee-Anna Shiers was killed in a fire at her Prestatyn home (North Wales Police/PA) Lee-Anna Shiers was killed in a fire at her Prestatyn home (North Wales Police/PA)

A drunk and jealous woman allegedly started a "devastating" fire which killed two adults and three young children, a court has been told.

Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, her four-year-old nephew Bailey and two-year-old niece Skye died in the blaze at their home in North Wales on October 19 last year.

Firefighters managed to rescue Ms Shiers' 15-month-old son Charlie and his father, Liam Timbrell, 23, from their first-floor flat, but they both died later in hospital.

Melanie Jane Smith, 42, who lived in the flat below the victims in Maes y Groes, Prestatyn, is on trial at Mold Crown Court accused of their murders.

She denies the five murder charges and also one count of making a threat to destroy or damage property.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Ian Murphy QC said: "The prosecution say that the fire was deliberately started by the defendant who had been drinking heavily that day, and who over a period of about two months leading up to the 19th October, had demonstrated anger and hostility towards Lee-Anna and also jealousy of her.

"It is the prosecution's case that on a number of occasions which I will later describe the defendant made threats to or about Lee-Anna that she would 'set your house on fire with your kids in it'."

The jury of seven women and five men were told that Ms Shiers habitually kept Charlie's pushchair in the downstairs hallway, pushed against the door which gave access to a staircase leading to the upstairs flat.

Mr Murphy said: "This pushchair and items left on top of it were deliberately ignited with a naked flame shortly before 10pm on Friday October 19 and a devastating fire developed, rushing up the stairs to the flat above and killing all of those inside.

"To add greatly to the tragic consequences of this fire, not only were Lee-Anna, Liam and Charlie Timbrell upstairs but so too were two of Lee-Anna's young relatives."

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