South East Wales

Cwmbran fire deaths: Great-grandmother talks of 'nightmare' a year on

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Media captionIt is a year since Kim, Kayleigh and Kimberley Buckley died in the fire started by Carl Mills

A woman whose daughter, granddaughter and baby great-granddaughter were murdered in a house fire a year ago has spoken of the "nightmare that keeps rehashing itself."

Kim Buckley, 46, her daughter Kayleigh, 17, and six-month-old granddaughter Kimberley died on the Coed Eva estate in Cwmbran, Torfaen, last September.

Gwyneth Swain said she could not get over the tragedy.

Trees were planted at a memorial service held near the scene.

The house was demolished following the fire in September 2012, which was started by Kayleigh's jealous boyfriend Carl Mills.

Mrs Swain, Mrs Buckley's son and her partner each planted a tree at the site.

There are also plans to have a permanent memorial garden there.

The proposals have been drawn up after consultations with the family and local community, and will go ahead at a later date subject to planning permission.

Mills, 28, Kimberley's father, was jailed for a minimum of 30 years in July after being convicted of their murders.

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Media captionGwyneth Swain said: 'It's like a nightmare at the moment that keeps rehashing itself'

The court heard he started the fire in a recycling bin in the porch at the house the night after baby Kimberley came home from hospital for the first time after being born prematurely.

The judge told Mills, described as "incredibly controlling and jealous", that he had condemned the family to an "agonising death" and had shown no remorse.

Kim Buckley's mother, Gwyneth Swain, said the police warned the family Mills was "grooming" Kayleigh and Kim Buckley tried "everything" to keep the pair apart.

Mrs Swain said the court case was "traumatic" and revealed details she was not aware of.

"My daughter was screaming. I didn't know that; I thought she had just gone to sleep," she told BBC Wales.

"It was very traumatic."

Mrs Swain referred to Mills as "that thing" who took pleasure in seeing the grief-stricken family upset during the trial.

Image caption Family and friends of the Buckleys gathered for the memorial

She said the garden of remembrance would give a degree of comfort but added: "It's something we're not going to get over.

"Up until the court case we had something to focus on all the time, like the funeral, putting the ashes in, then we had a party for Kim - what would've been Kim's birthday - we always had something, then there was the trial.

"Now we've got nothing - that's it, there's nothing.

"It's devastating now reality is kicking in. It's definite. It's like a nightmare at the moment that keeps rehashing itself."

She has also spoken of the tragedy which had touched her daughter's life previously, losing one twin son Leigh Harris to illness shortly after birth, and then a younger son David in a carbon monoxide poisoning incident which left her remaining twin son Shaun with brain damage.

Mrs Swain now cares for Shaun, who she said was struggling to understand the loss of his mother, sister and niece.

'Darkest hour'

The memorial service was organised by the housing association which managed the house the Buckley family lived in.

Image caption Gwyneth Swain planted one of the trees

Mrs Swain, Shaun Harris, and Mrs Buckley's partner Dai Parker each planted a tree in memory of the three victims.

Father Robert Langton from the Cwmbran benefice blessed the trees and offered prayers for the family.

He said: "As the family come to terms with this terrible loss we hope the memorial garden will be a place of peace and healing in the future.

"What a lovely idea this is, to have a memorial garden somewhere where the family and the community can remember.

"We pray that these trees will be a beautiful reminder of Kim, Kayleigh and Kimberley.

"We hope today can provide strength for the family in future."

Coed Eva councillor Fiona Cross described the events as a "truly harrowing experience".

"In their darkest hour the community has pulled together when they need it most," she told the assembled crowd.

"They've raised a huge amount of money for the critical care unit at the Royal Gwent. This has touched Mrs Swain deeply."

Image caption The plan for the community garden on the site of the Buckley's house in Coed Eva

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