North East Wales

Prestatyn fire deaths: Melanie Smith says accusation is 'crazy'

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Media captionMelanie Smith says the accusation is crazy

A woman has called an accusation that she murdered five members of a family by starting a fire "crazy".

Melanie Smith, 43, told Mold Crown Court she was getting the blame and witnesses were making up lies.

Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, her nephew Bailey, four, niece Skye, two, partner Liam Timbrell, 23, and 15-month-old son Charlie were all killed by the fire at her flat in Prestatyn on 19 October.

Ms Smith denies murder and making threats to burn another woman's home.

The court has heard evidence that the fire was started deliberately by somebody holding a flame against a pushchair in a communal hall.

The fire spread upstairs to Ms Shiers' flat, trapping the family, killing Ms Shiers, her niece and nephew outright.

Mr Timbrell and Charlie died later in hospital.

When prosecuting barrister Ian Murphy QC suggested to Ms Smith that she had performed "this terrible and wicked deed", she replied: "This is crazy."

She said she could not comment on claims that Mr Timbrell had told emergency crews and others that she had started the fire, adding: "Someone has taken them away and I'm getting the blame for it."

Ms Smith also denied previously threatening to kill them.

"That's a lie ... I'd never ever harm anyone in that way. From what I've heard in court, I'm distraught myself.

"God knows what the family are going through. That isn't me, I'm far from evil."

She said: "You've got to be pretty sick, crazy and beyond evil to do something like that ...I'm not that kind of person."

Facing eviction

Ms Smith, a mother of five, said she was "absolutely devastated" about the fire and was mortified when she was arrested.

The court heard Ms Smith was annoyed by the pushchair being left in the hallway and upset by her partner's affair with another woman.

She had also received a notice to quit her flat which would have left her homeless.

Ms Smith denied making threats to set fire to anything and accused witnesses of lying.

"They are all in it together," she said.

"Everyone wants justice don't they? And they are looking at me and I'm innocent. I've done nothing."

The defendant said she had complained to Ms Shiers about noise in the past but denied arguing about the pushchair, and said they were friends at the time of the fire.

The court had heard Ms Smith say she was in bed when the fire broke out. She denied arguing with her partner Stephen Clarkson outside the flat.

The prosecution put it to her that she had a distinctive voice. Ms Smith replied: "I don't know what you mean."

Mr Murphy suggested she had started the fire "with deadly intent and deadly effect". She replied she was not that kind of person.

Ms Smith has also denied making an earlier threat to burn the house of Samantha Schofield, who it is alleged Mr Clarkson was having an affair with.

The trial continues.

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