Sunday 23 April 2017

Woman denies murdering five in fire

Mike Hornby

A WOMAN has denied murdering five members of a family who died when a fire engulfed their home.

Melanie Jane Smith, 42, pleaded not guilty to five counts of murder when she appeared by video-link before Caernarfon Crown Court in Wales today.

Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, and 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.

Smith, who lived in the flat below the victims in Maes y Groes, Prestatyn, also denied one count of making a threat to destroy or damage property.

The defendant was remanded in custody by Judge Merfyn Hughes QC until a pre-trial hearing on March 18.

Her trial will begin in April on a date to be fixed.

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