Man guilty of starting fire that killed four siblings
A TEENAGER has today, Wednesday 24th July, been found guilty of the manslaughter of four brothers and sisters who were killed in a house fire last year.
Dyson Allen, of no fixed address, was found guilty by a jury after an eight week trial at Preston Crown Court.
Emergency services were called to reports of a house fire on Lytham Road in Freckleton just before 11.30pm on Saturday 7th January 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.
A joint investigation was launched with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service which established that the fire was caused by a naked flame being held to clothing inside a wardrobe in the children’s bedroom.
Detective Chief Superintendent Dermott Horrigan said, “This has been one of the most tragic and significant cases that Lancashire has seen for a number of years which has left a family and a community devastated by their loss.
“Four innocent people died as a result of the actions of this man who has shown no remorse and lied throughout the investigation and court case. There were plenty of opportunities for Dyson Allen to admit his guilt yet he persisted with his denial causing the family even further anguish and the ordeal of not only having to sit through a trial but to stand up and give evidence as well.
“Officers from across the force worked tirelessly on what was an incredibly tragic and difficult investigation to bring this case to court. I would also like recognise the bravery of all those friends and associates, of both the family and the defendant, who had the courage to come forward and give evidence which I know was not an easy thing to do.
“I would also like to express my thanks to all of the 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 successful conviction today.
“Our thoughts, as always, remain with the family and although nothing will bring their children back, I hope today’s result will bring the family some closure and help them to come to terms with the most devastating loss one can possibly imagine.”
A statement from Michelle Smith, the children’s mother, Martin Goulding, Reece’s father and the rest of the family said; “We are pleased that Dyson Allen has been convicted of the murder / manslaughter of our beautiful children Reece, Holly, Ella and Jordan. We’ll never know the reason why our children were taken from us but even knowing the answer won’t bring them back. He had the chance to explain his actions to the police and the court but he lied from the very beginning.
“We would like to thanks the fire service and other emergency services who tried to save the children that night and we would especially like to thank the police for their determination in bringing him before the courts and for the outcome that we now have today. That outcome has only been reached because of the help and support given to the police by people who have been willing to give evidence.
“Finally though, we would like to pay tribute to Reece who paid the ultimate price for trying to rescue his brother and sisters and for that we will be eternally grateful and proud.”
Group Manager Mark Hutton, Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service who was manager of the LFRS Incident Intelligence Team at the time of the fire said, “This was one of the most tragic fires Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service has ever attended. Despite intense efforts on the night by fire fighters, paramedics and medical staff, nineteen year old Reece Smith, four-year-old twin girls Holly and Ella and their brother Jordan aged two, all lost their lives and I would once again seek to extend our deepest sympathy to the family.
“In the immediate aftermath, and for over a year afterwards, specialist fire investigators from our Incident Intelligence function worked as part of a multi-agency team to establish not only how this started but also why it developed so quickly and with such tragic consequences.
“Working closely with forensic scientists, scenes of crime officers and other experts, the investigation was painstaking in its detail.
“The findings were examined further in live fire trials conducted inside a full scale reconstruction of the Lytham Rd dormer bungalow. Sadly the consistent picture that emerged was that of an extremely fast growing fire that produced conditions in the first floor that became fatal in a matter of minutes.
“Whilst we are deeply saddened by the loss of life we are reassured that our collective ability to mount such a full, thorough and professional investigation has contributed to the verdict announced today.”
Joanne Cunliffe, Crown Advocate for CPS North West’s Complex Casework Unit said:
"The jury have today concluded that Dyson Allen was responsible for the fatal fire at a house in Freckleton last year in which four siblings lost their lives, and that he is guilty of their murder/manslaughter.
“Dyson Allen’s actions in deliberately starting a fire in a bedroom where three young children were sleeping were truly wicked.
“The heroic efforts of their brother, Reece, to rescue Holly, Ella and Jordan from the fire also led to the tragic loss of his own life. This act of bravery is in stark contrast to the cowardice shown by Dyson Allen, who has attempted to evade responsibility for his actions throughout the investigation and the trial. Nevertheless, the jury have seen through his lies and we have been able to secure his conviction.
“Although today’s result can in no way compensate the family and friends of Reece, Holly, Ella and Jordan who needlessly lost their lives in this terrible crime, we can only hope the justice that these verdicts have delivered brings them some measure of comfort. Our thoughts are with them.”
Sentencing has been adjourned until 27th September 2013.