Husband jailed for 12 years for killing three children

A man who torched his wife's home after accusing her of wanting to "cop off" with a taxi driver was jailed for 12 years today for the manslaughter of their three children.

Kevin Hargreaves, 38, had drunk 13 pints of Stella Artois when he poured petrol over himself and lit it - setting the house ablaze and killing his eight-year-old son John, his stepson Jordan, 14, and stepdaughter Carly, 19.



A jury at Manchester Crown Court cleared him of murder on the basis that he only wanted to kill himself and not seriously harm or cause death to anyone else in the house.



The couple married in 2003 but never lived together because of their volatile, alcohol-driven relationship.



It was a relationship that exploded with tragic consequences last year.



The couple spent July 15 drinking and returned to Mrs Owen's home on Herne Street, Beswick, Greater Manchester.



They had rowed in a taxi because Hargreaves, whose IQ of 74 puts him in the bottom 4% of the population, thought Mrs Owen was blanking him and flirting with the cabbie.



She also bought the driver a kebab, which infuriated the killer.



Hargreaves, who has a history of mental problems and self-harming, attempted to pour petrol over his head but most of it splashed on to the couple's bed. He then lit it with a cigarette lighter.



"I had had enough of life," Hargreaves told the jury, who added that he still loved his wife "to bits".



Sentencing, Mr Justice Holroyde told Hargreaves: "It was selfishness and self-indulgence which caused you to set the fire and light it. I do not accept that it was an impulsive act."



On the two boys who died in the fire, he said: "The terror which those boys must have suffered when they realised they were trapped, prevented by physical impossibility or by fear from descending the blazing stairs or jumping out of the window, is too awful to imagine.



"Anyone who heard the evidence will find it hard to erase the mental images of Jordan at the window piteously calling for help to his mother."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'