Wales

Cwmbran fire: Carl Mills 'resented attention to baby'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCarl Mills is accused of murdering Kayleigh Buckley, her mother Kim, and her baby, Kimberley

A father accused of killing three generations of a family in a house fire resented the attention his girlfriend gave to their blind and deaf daughter, Newport Crown Court has heard.

Carl Mills denies murdering six-month-old Kimberley, who had only been discharged from hospital for the first time since birth hours before the fire.

Mr Mills, 28, also denies murdering his girlfriend Kayleigh Buckley, 17, and her mother Kim at their Cwmbran home.

The fire broke out on 18 September.

At the opening of the trial, the jury heard how neighbours living on the Coed Eva estate had tried to save the family from the fire which had been started in the porch of the house and spread to the staircase trapping the three inside.

Neighbours used ladders to try and help them but were not able to reach them.

The fire had been started just hours after baby Kimberley had been discharged from hospital after being born prematurely.

She was one of twins but her sister Angel had been stillborn.

Kimberley was deaf and blind and had underdeveloped lungs as well as problems feeding.

Prosecutor Gregory Bull QC told the jury how Mr Mills, who was living in a tent in the garden of his girlfriend's home, had become increasingly resentful of the attention she had been giving to their daughter.

Image caption Carl Mills was convinced Kayleigh Buckley had another boyfriend, the court heard

The court heard how during Kimberley's time in hospital a care plan had been drawn up for her which involved her mother Kayleigh and grandmother Kim.

Although Mr Mills was allowed to see Kimberley, he was not allowed to care for her due to his alcohol issues and his refusal to accept professional help, the jury heard.

In response to the care plan, Mr Mills sent a text message saying he hoped the baby died.

He had also sent texts threatening to kill the family.

The jury heard that despite this Kayleigh, who met Mr Mills via the internet when she was 15, was still infatuated with him and "would even spend nights in the tent with him".

The jury was told that Mr Mills had "magnetic control" over Kayleigh.

Mr Bull described Mr Mills as a controlling and jealous man.

"His abusive, controlling and irrational behaviour was demonstrated in a number of ways. He tried to drive a wedge between Kayleigh and her school friends," he told the jury.

Mrs Buckley, concerned about her daughter's infatuation with Mr Mills, had allowed him to continue to have contact with Kayleigh but had approached the police and school authorities for help.

On the afternoon of 17 September, Kimberley was discharged from hospital.

But by 03:30 the next day she had perished, along with her mother and grandmother, in a fire at their home.

Image caption Carl Mills met Kayleigh via the internet when she was 15

The jury heard how the fire was probably started on the right-hand side of the porch which was significant because it created a sort of chimney, which would quickly set a fire in motion and spread quickly.

The fire spread to the stairs which collapsed - causing a fireball to go into the roof space and burning down into the bedrooms.

"The three victims did not have a chance, they could not get down the stairs because the fire was set deliberately by the front door where the defendant would have known the stairs were under immediate threat," said Mr Bull.

'Calculating killer'

Mr Bull told the court how in the hours after Kimberley was discharged, Mr Mills, originally from Manchester, became frustrated that text messages and calls he made to Kayleigh were ignored, the court heard.

In one of the texts he sent her, he said he hoped she would "get burnt", jurors heard.

He told the jury how Mr Mills's behaviour during fire had been noticed after he did not show any concern for the three people he knew to be in the house.

Mr Bull said how when police arrived at the scene, Mr Mills tried to tell them his girlfriend was in a different house from the one burning in front of them.

Mr Bull said: "Carl Mills was a cold calculating killer who knew exactly what he was doing. He put into action the threat he had made.

"This offence hasn't been committed because the defendant was drunk. It's been committed out of spite, jealousy and hatred," said Mr Bull.

Mr Bull told the jury that during police interviews Mr Mills had claimed not to have been in the garden or near the house earlier that evening or at the time of the fire.

But text messages sent by Mr Mills showed he had seen decorations inside the house put up in order to welcome Kimberley home, which the prosecution argued proved he had been right outside the flat.

Jurors were shown photographs of the layout of the house and the surrounding area, including the tent outside it where Mr Mills slept.

The prosecution is expected to call its first witnesses on Thursday.

The trial continues.