The mother of four siblings killed in a house fire fought back tears as she made a desperate appeal for help to catch their killer.
Reece Smith, 19, four-year-old twin girls Holly and Ella Smith, and Jordan Smith, aged two, all died from smoke inhalation after the blaze at their home in Freckleton, Lancashire, last month.
Yesterday their mother, Michelle Smith, 36, and Reece’s father, Martin Goulding, sat below a giant montage picture of the four children as their Lancashire Police liaison officer read out a statement on their behalf.
Ms Smith was holding back tears as Detective Constable Ian McVittie told a Press conference in Blackpool they could not understand how anyone would want to start the fire, which began inside a wardrobe, and asked “how they can sleep at night with the guilt”?
The statement said: “Our whole family has been devastated by the fire that took away four of our treasured children.
“Reece was our 19-year-old son, who wanted to be an engineer working on airplanes and was a huge Blackpool fan but overall was a loving son and brother
“The twins, Holly and Ella, were only four years old and were like chalk and cheese and had their own little characters and personalities.
“They had just started enjoying school life making new friends in a big, new world and were due to celebrate their fifth birthday later this month.
“Jordan was the baby of the family. He was only two years old. He made us laugh so much and was always bumping into things so we nicknamed him ‘Banger’.
“All four of them had so much more life to live.”
Detectives say the fire was started by a naked flame inside the wardrobe in one of the upstairs attic bedrooms in the converted bungalow at around 11.30pm on January 7, following a family party to celebrate Ms Smith’s birthday.
Ms Smith, who has five other children, was led out of the house by firefighters.
Mr Goulding held her hand throughout the appeal as Mr McVittie said they were “lost without them”.
“These four beautiful children died in a fire which was started deliberately in a wardrobe,” they added. “We can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing and how they can sleep at night with the guilt. So this is a plea to the person responsible or to anyone who knows who is responsible for the deaths of these four beautiful children.
“Please come forward and explain to the police what you did or what you know.”
Detective Superintendent Dermott Horrigan who is leading the investigation, said: “I don’t know whether this was a deliberate act to kill the three children in that room or whether this was a foolish prank that went tragically wrong.”
Dyson Allen, 18, who was arrested on suspicion of murder following the fire, is on bail pending further inquiries.