North East Wales

Prestatyn fire: Father speaks of loss of two children

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Media captionSteve Allen said Bailey and Skye were staying with their aunt as a treat

A father who lost two of his children in a fire started by a neighbour has spoken of the last time he saw them.

Steve Allen's son Bailey, four, and two-year-old daughter Skye died in the fire at his sister's home in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, in October 2012.

Their aunt Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, her partner Liam Timbrell, 23, and their 15-month-old son Charlie also died.

A jury found Melanie Smith, 43, guilty of five counts of murder at Mold Crown Court.

Mr Allen, a father-of-four, explained that on the evening of 19 October Bailey and Skye were staying at their aunt Lee-Anna's house as a treat.

As he dropped them off, he recalled how excited the children were as they spotted their aunt's partner Liam waving at them through a window.

"The kids were smiling and waving to him," explained Mr Allen who said the children tried to rush in to the house.

"I had to call them back to get kisses and then they ran in," he said.

"And that was the last time I actually saw my children."

Image caption Liam Timbrell, Lee-Anna Shiers and son Charlie, niece Skye and nephew Bailey all died

Several hours later, Mr Allen received a panicked telephone call from his father about the fire and hurried back to the house.

"I got there as fast as I could possibly get there. When I approached there were fire engines, there were people running around - it was horrendous," he said.

"As I approached, Liam was on the floor quite badly burned."

As he went to comfort him, people tending to Mr Timbrell screamed not to touch him because of the burn injuries to his body.

"I think that's when I realised how serious it actually was," said Mr Allen.

"And I ran down the street shouting out 'my kids are in there'."

As the fire took hold, Mr Allen helplessly waited outside the house while the emergency crews attempted to rescue Lee-Anna and the children.

Image caption Flowers were left outside the property

"It felt like eternity for us," he said.

"When we stood there, the time, it stood still, and you're just waiting and waiting and waiting.

"They hadn't come out so we knew they were still in and the longer they were still in the more chance we knew they weren't going to be coming out there alive."

Eventually, Bailey and Skye were carried out by firefighters.

"I knew they'd already gone," Mr Allen said.

As he tried to rush to his children he was held back by people as paramedics tried to revive them.

"There was nothing I could do," he said.

As Skye and Bailey were taken to hospital Mr Allen followed, desperately hoping they could be saved.

"I don't remember actually driving there - I just remember getting there, parking up outside the front and all the ambulances being everywhere," he said.

"It was just horrendous the amount of people that were running around, that were shouting, that were screaming, pulling us back. Words don't explain, really.

"I didn't want them to pass away, I wanted my kids back," he said.

Despite the efforts of the medical staff, his children could not be saved.

Their aunt Lee-Anna also died.

Two days later their 15-month-old cousin Charlie died at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool. Charlie's father Liam Timbrell died nearly three weeks later.

Mr Allen said the deaths of two of his children had had a devastating impact from which he and his partner, Jonty, 28, would never recover from.

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