South East Wales

Carl Mills trial: Defendant a 'compulsive, clever, wily liar'

Kim Buckley, Kayleigh Buckley and Kimberley Buckley
Image caption Kim Buckley, Kayleigh Buckley and Kimberley Buckley died in the fire

A father accused of murdering three generations of the same family in a house fire is a "compulsive, clever, wily liar", a court has been told.

Carl Mills, 28, denies killing girlfriend Kayleigh Buckley, 17, their daughter Kimberley and grandmother Kim at their home in Cwmbran, Torfaen.

Prosecutor Gregory Bull QC said the fire was started deliberately and Mr Mills had not tried to save the family.

Defence closing speeches at Newport Crown Court are due to start later.

The fire had been started on 18 September 2012 just hours after baby Kimberley, who was blind and deaf, had been brought home from hospital.

Jurors heard neighbours living on the Coed Eva estate in Cwmbran had tried to save the family from the blaze which had broken out in the porch of the house and spread to the staircase trapping the three inside.

Ladders were used to try and help them but neighbours were not able to reach the family.

The court had previously heard Mr Mills, who is Kimberley's father, had become jealous of the attention Kayleigh gave to their daughter after she was born very prematurely along with a twin sister Angel, who was stillborn.

Image caption Carl Mills repeatedly made threats by text to burn down Kayleigh's home

The prosecution say Mr Mills started the fire the night Kimberley was first allowed home from hospital aged six months after he had been drinking and wrongly suspected Kayleigh had another man in the house with her.

The jury has also heard that Mr Mills, who was living in a tent in the garden, had sent texts threatening to kill the family and to set fire to the house.

Summing up, Mr Bull QC said: "Mr Mills murdered three people - he was the man who lit the fire, he did it unlawfully and to do, at the very least, serious harm to someone in that house."

Mr Bull recounted the evidence given by expert fire investigation witnesses that the fire was most likely caused by a naked flame. It was a "ridiculous notion" the fire was started by a cigarette, he said.

"The fire was set deliberately in the hours of darkness when the defendant would expect the people inside to be in bed, asleep," he added.

"He would know once fire got into that house Kayleigh and her mother were doomed. There would be no escape.

"You might expect he'd know what would happen to his six month old daughter. Smoke kills as much as fire.

"Her lungs hadn't fully developed. He didn't give it a thought. He intended to do that baby serious harm."

Mr Bull put it to the jury that the alternative - that Kayleigh herself discarded a cigarette which caused the fire - "was not evidence based".

The prosecution told the court that Mr Mills' "ill feeling reactions" when he was arrested in the back garden of the Buckleys' house, and the "smirk" or "smile" a witness told the trial he had on his face soon after the fire, showed he was guilty of murder.

"There was no evidence that he made any attempt to save his family," Mr Bull added. "It is the crown's case that Carl Mills is a compulsive, clever, wily liar."

Mr Mills' thoughts towards baby Kimberley were "unnatural", Mr Bull claimed, because he thought he was not the child's father and that Kayleigh was cheating on him.

He resented that Kayleigh was putting the baby first and that he would have "less of an influence" on her life, the prosecutor said.

Mr Bull told the court that the phrase "I don't remember" was Mr Mills' "stock shield for any difficult question" and that he "threw help back into the face" of an organisation which offered him help with his drinking problem.

When his premature daughter was due to leave hospital, Mr Mills "went on a bender" and cut all the wires to electrical appliances in the home, the court was told.

The prosecution also argues Mr Mills also hated Kayleigh's mother Kim for trying to split them up.

Mr Bull told the jury: "He lied to the police with ease and alacrity. He lied to you with ease and alacrity. When I asked him about those text messages he sent, all he said was 'I don't remember'. He could not, or would not show any contrition. I invite you to find him guilty."

The hearing continues.

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