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Jury considering verdicts over house fire that killed five


A jury has retired to consider its verdicts in the trial of a woman accused of starting a house fire which killed five members of the same family.

Melanie Smith, 43, is alleged to have set fire to a pushchair because she was angry that it had been left in a shared hallway.

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

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

Smith, who lived in the flat below the victims in Maes y Groes, Prestatyn, denies five counts of murder.

Mold Crown Court heard that she carried out the "terrible and wicked deed" because she was "drunk and angry", disillusioned with her boyfriend and very unhappy in her flat due to the untidiness of Ms Shiers.

Cross-examining Smith, Ian Murphy QC, for the prosecution, said: "I suggest to you that it was very easy for you to carry out this terrible, wicked deed of setting fire to the pushchair with a lighter."

Smith replied: "That is crazy. You are twisting things."

Mr Murphy also accused Smith of using her boyfriend, Steven Clarkson, to establish a false alibi.

He said Smith got into bed with Clarkson after setting fire to the pram so she could then pretend to be a victim.

Mr Murphy said: "It was started deliberately by you and you in effect stage-managed your exit from the property."

During the trial Smith denied the allegations and said that 21 witnesses in the case who said they had heard her making threats to burn down people's houses were lying.