Fire death mum makes desperate appeal

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A MOTHER devastated by the death of her “four beautiful children” in a tragic blaze has pleaded with the person responsible to imagine her pain and turn themselves in.

Michelle Smith’s 19-year-old son Reece died desperately trying to rescue his younger sisters Holly and Ella and two-year-old brother Jordan from the fire at their Freckleton home.

Police conference about Freckleton fire. Pictured is Michelle Smith.

Police conference about Freckleton fire. Pictured is Michelle Smith.

Police believe the blaze was started deliberately in a wardrobe in a bedroom where the younger children were sleeping.

Miss Smith faced the media for the first time yesterday – together with Reece’s father Martin Goulding – and said she cannot imagine how the person who started the fire “can sleep with the guilt”.

In a statement read by family liaison officer Det Con Ian McVittie, Ms Smith said: “These four beautiful children died in a fire started deliberately in a wardrobe and we cannot understand why anyone would do such a thing and how they can sleep at night with the guilt.

“Please think of our loss and the pain we’re going through. The police need your help but more importantly we as a family need your help.”

Police conference about Freckleton fire. Pictured is Michelle Smith and Martin Goulding.

Police conference about Freckleton fire. Pictured is Michelle Smith and Martin Goulding.

Police, who yesterday released the first image of the charred remains of the wardrobe, said the fire had started after a naked flame was placed inside it.

And murder squad detectives have stressed they are still trying to establish whether the fire was a prank gone horribly wrong – or a deliberate attempt to kill the youngsters.

In the hours leading up to the fire, on January 7, a party to celebrate Ms Smith’s 36th birthday had been taking place at the bungalow.

Det Supt Dermott Horrigan, who is leading the investigation, said: “Somebody has placed a naked flame inside the wardrobe within the children’s bedroom. I don’t know whether this was a deliberate act to kill the three children or whether this was a foolish prank which went tragically wrong.

“I’m making a direct appeal to that person responsible – if this was a tragic accident that went wrong we need to know.”

Det Supt Horrigan added at the time the fire broke out – just before 11.30pm – there had only been a “handful” of people at the house, and the fire did not burn for very long before the fire service arrived.

n Dyson Allen, 18, of Saltcotes Road, Lytham was arrested on suspicion of murder and has been bailed pending further inquiries.