Grandmother siblings killed in fire tells court about house party

The bungalow on Lytham Road, Freckleton, where the children died in a fire.
The bungalow on Lytham Road, Freckleton, where the children died in a fire.
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The grandmother of four siblings killed in a house fire in Freckleton has re-lived in court the horrific night they died.

Christine Smith, told Preston Crown Court her daughter Michelle Smith, 37, had only moved into the property in September 2011, four months before the fire claimed the lives of Reece, 19, twins Holly and Ella, four and Jordan, two.

On the night of the fire – on January 7 last year – Christine visited the bungalow on Lytham Road, Freckleton, to celebrate Michelle’s birthday.

When she arrived, Michelle and her oldest son Reece appeared to be drunk.

Mrs Smith said she ‘had words’ with her daughter about people smoking in the conservatory as she had rules about smoking in the house.

She left the party at around 9.30pm but at around 11.20pm she received a phone call from the father of two of Michelle’s children, telling her there was a fire at the house.

Mrs Smith said: “I was there in about five minutes.

“I saw blue flashing lights. There were police. They didn’t let us through.”

The home, which had belonged to Christine Smith’s grandmother, had smoke alarms installed but Mrs Smith said Reece had removed them a week earlier as they had been making a beeping noise.

Teenagers told how the bungalow had an “open door” policy and said there would regularly be up to 20 youngsters at the home.

Smoking was restricted to the back door of the conservatory and an outhouse, known as ‘the chamber’, where some of the youngsters would also smoke cannabis.

Dyson Allen, 19, of no fixed address, denies the murder and manslaughter of all four siblings. The prosecution say Allen was the only person upstairs in the bungalow at the time the fire broke out.


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