A teenager told a murder trial how she heard a man accused of killing four siblings running down the stairs at a Freckleton home shouting “fire”.
A packed courtroom listened as Chloe Marshall, 16, spoke about the moment a fire broke out at the Lytham Road home on January 7 last year, killing four siblings.
Dyson Allen, 19, denies four charges of murder and four of manslaughter after Reece Smith, 19, twins Holly and Ella, four and Jordan, two, died from the effects of smoke inhalation.
The teenager told Preston Crown Court of the hours leading upto the fire starting in an upstairs bedroom, which followed a 36th birthday party for the siblings’ mum, Michelle Smith.
She told the court: “There had been a party on the Saturday to celebrate Michelle’s birthday.
“I had gone out with a friend to the shops around 10.30pm.
“When I came back, there were only a few people left.
“Michelle had put the kids to bed and was upstairs.
“I was downstairs with Reece and a few others. Michelle had been a while.
“Reece asked me to go upstairs and see where she was.”
The teenager revealed she knew the family through the siblings’ 17-year-old brother, Andrew Smith.
She added he wasn’t at home at the time but went into his room first: “When I went up, I went into Andrew’s room. He wasn’t there but Dyson was.
“He was sat on the edge of the bed. I asked what he was doing and he hesitated, before saying he was ‘just chilling’.
“I’m not sure why he hesitated – he could have been drunk.
“His hands were not in view. They were over the edge of the mattress. I could not see what he was doing.
“I went into the second upstairs bedroom where the children were asleep and Michelle was lying with Jordan.
“We both then went downstairs and sat with Reece near the patio doors in the conservatory.”
Miss Marshall told the court she sat with Reece and Michelle for 15 to 20 minutes and in that time was not aware of anyone else going upstairs.
She added that the three heard a loud bang, followed by the lights going off.
The 16-year-old said: “The lights went out and very soon after Dyson came running down the stairs.
“I heard him saying there was a fire.
“I heard him saying that and nothing else.
“He then ran out of the house through the kitchen door.”