Woman guilty of family fire murders

A woman who set fire to her neighbour's pushchair, starting a devastating blaze which killed five members of a family, has been convicted of their murders.

Alcoholic Melanie Smith, 43, deliberately set fire to the pushchair because she was angry it had been left in a shared hallway, her trial at Mold Crown Court heard.

Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, her four-year-old nephew, Bailey, and two-year-old niece, Skye, died in the arson attack at their home in Prestatyn, 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, from the first-floor flat but they died in hospital.

Smith, who lived in the flat below the victims in Maes y Groes, Prestatyn, was found guilty of all five counts of murder by a jury of seven women and five men following 15 hours of deliberations.

Speaking outside court, Lee-Anna's parents, Joy and Peter Shiers, paid tribute to the "angels" who died.

Mrs Shiers, 45, who has attended every day of the trial, said: "I'm sorry for her (Smith's) family but for me and my family, we are overjoyed that we have got justice.

"Anna was such a lovely, bubbly girl and Liam a very caring dad. Both of them were heroes because we know they would have done everything to rescue the children.

"The three kiddies loved each other, they played together all the time. They were our angels. Really, really nice people that will be missed."

Mr Justice Griffith Williams told the court he wanted "time to reflect" before passing sentence. He warned Smith her life sentence was fixed by law, but she would be brought back to the court on May 8 when she will be told the minimum term.