A teenager has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of the manslaughter of four brothers and sisters who were killed in a house fire last year.
Dyson Allen, 19, of no fixed address, was found guilty by a jury after an eight week trial at Preston Crown Court in July and was sentenced there today.
He has been told he must serve a minimum of nine years and three months before being eligible for parole.
Emergency services were called to reports of a house fire on Lytham Road in Freckleton just before 11.30pm on January 7, 2012.
Four people, 19-year-old Reece Smith, four-year-old twin girls Holly and Ella Smith and Jordan Smith, aged two, tragically died from smoke inhalation.
Det Chief Supt Dermott Horrigan said, “I hope today’s sentencing, first and foremost, offers some closure for the family at the end of what has been a very long and traumatic process for them.
“This has been one of the most tragic and significant cases that Lancashire has seen for a number of years which has left the family and the whole community devastated by their loss.
“This was a needless loss of life and is a permanent reminder of the tragic consequences of fooling around with fire.
“We will never know why Dyson did what he did that night but his actions have stolen the lives of four of Michelle’s children. He himself will now spend many years behind bars missing out on a huge part of his own life as a result of his inexplicably foolish behaviour.
“I would like to once again express my thanks to the officers and staff who worked on the case and to all the other agencies involved including Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, the forensic scientists, the CPS and the whole prosecution team for their work – it is that team work that has ultimately led us to a success in this case.
“Our thoughts, as always, remain with the family and although nothing will bring their children back, I hope today’s result will help them to start to come to terms with the most devastating loss one can possibly imagine.”
For the full story, read tomorrow’s Gazette.