A convicted killer who denied setting a blaze that killed three children and their heroic older brother who tried to save them has finally admitted his guilt.
In a shock confession to a probation officer, made behind bars, 21-year-old Dyson Allen admitted setting fire to clothes in a wardrobe in the bedroom shared by twins Holly and Ella Smith and their two year-old brother Jordan.
The four-year-old girls and their toddler brother died in the fire, along with their elder brother Reece,19, who was overcome by the smoke as he tried to rescue them from their burning home in Lytham Road, Freckleton in January 2012.
The children’s grandfather Keith Smith said yesterday he was pleased to learn of the confession.
He said:”At least we have some closure – he has admitted what he did – something he has never done before.”
Allen, from Lytham, was jailed for life and told he must serve a minimum of nine and half years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter by a jury after an eight-week long trial.
Allen had always denied starting the blaze during the children’s mother Michelle Smith’s 36th birthday party.
A police source told The Gazette three detectives went to interview Allen in prison after he confessed to his probation officer.
It is not known if the police will now take the matter further.
During his trial at Preston Crown Court, the prosecution said Allen was high on cannabis and alcohol when he started a fire in the wardrobe of the dormer bedroom .
The young children were trapped by the fire set just yards away from they were sleeping.
After the fire was discovered, brave Reece, hailed a ‘hero’ by his family, ran back into the house to save his brother and sisters before fire crews arrived.
He rushed up the stairs, followed by Lloyd Wall and Dyson Allen.
But the smoke was too thick.
And as Reece collapsed, Allen and Lloyd Wall had run to a neighbour’s house to raise the alarm.
But for Miss Smith’s four children, it was already too late.
The Smith family had been in the house in Lytham Road for just a few months when the tragedy happened.
The dormer bungalow, which had been recently been renovated, had been inherited by Miss Smith’s mother Christine.
In the months following August 2011 when they first moved in, the family hosted several parties, regularly seeing local teenagers invited.
January 7, the day of Michelle’s 36th birthday, was no different.
But it was the actions of one guest, Dyson Allen, which were to have catastrophic consequences.
The former Lytham St Annes High School pupil, then 18, had lived with his grandmother in Lytham after his mum moved to Liverpool, but had on occasions lived with the Smith family.
Allen had been at the house during the day and was said in court to have had a fascination with fire since childhood.
The house where the children died remains boarded up.
Mr Smith added:”I hoped it would have been demolished by now.”