North East Wales

Prestatyn fire deaths: Melanie Smith lie detector offer

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Media captionMelanie Smith said she was asleep at the time of the fire

A woman accused of killing five members of a family offered to take a lie detector test to prove she was not a murderer or arsonist.

Mold Crown Court heard Melanie Smith, 43, claim she was in bed when a fire began which killed her neighbour Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, nephew Bailey, four, and niece Skye, two, in Prestatyn.

Ms Shiers' partner Liam Timbrell and 15-month-old son Charlie died later.

Ms Smith denies murder and threatening to burn down another woman's home.

The prosecution claim that Ms Smith set fire to a pushchair in a communal hall following arguments with Ms Shiers who lived in the upstairs flat.

Giving evidence at the start of the third week of her trial, Ms Smith denied making earlier threats to commit arson, and repeatedly claimed that prosecution witnesses, who said that she did, were lying.

In police interviews played to the court, Ms Smith said: "I am not an arsonist and I am definitely not a murderer.

"I definitely did not start the fire in the flat. Give me a lie detector test. I will pass everything."

Ms Smith said she shared a takeaway meal with her partner and went to bed. She told the court she had drunk 10 alcoholic drinks on the day of the fire.

Image caption Melanie Smith said she and Ms Shiers had got over their differences

Ms Smith claimed she heard the television in the upstairs flat and her neighbours in bed.

The court heard Ms Smith was woken by thick black smoke. She and her partner escaped through the bedroom window.

In the police interviews Ms Smith told detectives she was hysterical and was outside in her underwear and was given a blanket to cover herself while her partner got onto a flat roof at the back of the premises with other people to try to help the family above escape.

She also denied previously shouting at Ms Shiers in the street, allegedly saying she was going to "burn her and the kids".

Ms Smith told police there had been differences between the pair about the pushchair in the hall and rubbish left outside but that they had made up and apologised to each other.

'Pointing the finger'

"Everyone is pointing the finger at me. On my kids' lives I never did anything to that flat. That is from the bottom of my heart. I would not do that to my worst enemy," she said.

She also denied starting the fire just to scare someone or through frustration, adding: "I have five children of my own."

Ms Smith said she was alcohol dependent, but did not drink every day.

She said she was a binge drinker, but she was not in the middle of a binge when the fire took place, and that she had drunk 10 alcoholic drinks during the day.

Ms Smith said she had no previous convictions but she had been cautioned on one occasion. That was for stabbing her partner with a fork when she said he rubbed crisps into her hair and she thought he was going for her.

The court had previously heard that the fire which ignited the pushchair had been deliberately started by somebody holding a flame against it.

Ms Smith said the front door was never locked and anyone could have walked into the hallway and done it.

She also denies a charge of making an earlier threat to burn down the home of an alleged love rival, Samantha Schofield.

The trial continues.

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