Arsonists who blighted Wales and the frightening crimes they committed
Arson is an extremely serious crime and in some of the most extreme cases it has led to the deaths of families. While it is not the most common offence to come before the courts there are still criminals who look to cause destruction and damage with fire. Here is a rundown of arsonists who have appeared in front of Welsh courts over the years.
Carl Mills was jailed for a minimum of 30 years (Image: PA/Gwent Police)
Carl Mills, 35, murdered three generations of the same family including his ex-girlfriend and daughter after setting fire to their home in Cwmbran. Kayleigh Buckley, 17, her and Mills’ daughter Kimberley who was six months old, and Kayleigh’s mother Kim Buckley, 46, all died in the inferno at their now-demolished home in Coed Eva, Cwmbran, in the early hours of September 18, 2012.
Kim, Kimberley and Kayleigh Buckley
A trial at Newport Crown Court heard Mills started the fire in a recycling bin before walking away to a nearby park where he drank cider. The Buckley family were engulfed in a 700?C blaze that started in the porch and quickly spread up the stairwell and into the attic space, trapping them from above and below.
Mills was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 30 years in 2013. Melanie Smith
Alcoholic Melanie Smith, 50, murdered five members of the same family after setting fire to a pram at their home in Prestatyn. Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, her four-year-old nephew Bailey, and two-year-old niece Skye were trapped in their upstairs flat and died in the arson attack on October 19, 2012.
Firefighters managed to rescue Ms Shiers’ 15-month-old son Charlie and his father Liam Timbrell, 23, but they died in hospital.
A picture taken inside the flat which Melanie Smith set on fire
Mold Crown Court heard Smith started the fire in a fit of “jealous hatred” in a row over a pushchair being left in a communal area. She was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 30 years in 2013. Damion Harris
Damion Harris, 32, set fire to a linen cupboard at the Ty Belgrave House in Aberystwyth resulting in the death of one man and GBP5m worth of damage being caused.
Fire safety officer Juozas Tunaitis, 48, who was staying at the boutique hotel with three colleagues, was killed in the fire on July 25, 2018. Richard Simnett, 42, fell and landed on a metal rail which caused him to suffer a broken arm and a number of serious fractures and a spine injury which needed major surgery.
A screengrab of drone footage issued by Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of fire services putting out the blaze at the Ty Belgrave House in Aberystwyth (Image: PA)
Harris lit the fire in frustration after a woman in a nightclub had spurned him. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, arson, and inflicting grievous bodily harm.
He was given an extended sentence of 21 years imprisonment in 2019. Keiron Miller
Keiron Miller from Barry (Image: South Wales Police)
Keiron Miller, 32, set fire to a supermarket delivery truck in a revenge plot against the store’s manager. He was caught lurking around the back of the Iceland store in Barry in the early hours of April 24, 2019, before the vehicle went up in flames.
The fire engulfed the vehicle and also spread to some nearby buildings causing GBP48,000 worth of damage. A second incident happened on May 6, 2019, when Miller set fire to a car in Gladstone Road. The defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of arson and was jailed for six years.
(Image: Dyfed-Powys Police)
Nathan Jones, 42, trapped a family inside their home after setting fire to the wrong property. Having lit the fire outside the front door of a home in Castle Street, Cardigan, at 3am on June 16 last year the family were unable to leave. The fire spread to refuse bags which caught light and smoke and gas from a damaged pipe filled the home.
(Image: Carmarthen Journal/Evening Post)
Jones was caught on CCTV attempting to put the fire out but one of the bin bags was still smouldering and set others alight.
He pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life and last year was sentenced to four years imprisonment. Joshua Cullen
Joshua Lee Cullen (Image: South Wales Police)
Joshua Cullen, 27, set a fire outside a couple’s front door in a seemingly random and motiveless attack on April 18 last year in Swansea. The defendant climbed the stairs to the entrance to the flat and used a cigarette lighter to ignite a pile of rubbish before walking off.
One of the couple was able to escape the flat before the flames took hold, trapping her partner inside. It was only the swift arrival of firefighters which meant the man got out safely. The cost of the damage caused by the fire was put at some GBP5,000.
Cullen admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and was jailed for 45 months last year. Robert Royan
(Image: Dyfed-Powys Police)
Robert Royan, 67, set fire to the flats where he lived while having a “life-long obsession with causing fires”. He used a Screwfix catalogue to start the fires in a shared electricity meter cupboard in the flats where he lived in Pembroke Dock in early hours of July 1, 2018.
He then left the flats and walked to a telephone kiosk where he called 999. The firefighters then went into the building to tackle the blaze and to check the flats for residents. One occupant was found to be suffering from smoke inhalation and was given oxygen at the scene.
Royan pleaded guilty to arson and was sentenced to a 10-year extended sentence in 2018. Nicholas Walker
(Image: North Wales Police)
Nicholas Walker, 51, torched an empty flat in his sheltered housing block in a bid to get rehoused by the council. The defendant, who has previously been convicted of child sex offences, broke into a house in Llangefni, Anglesey, on April 18, 2016.
He gathered junk mail and other flammable materials and placed them in the cupboard under the kitchen sink and set fire to them. The fire melted the plastic water pipes and flooded the flat. Firefighters found the blaze was close to a gas pipe and had it not been extinguished could have posed considerable danger.
Walker was jailed for four and a-half years last year after pleading guilty to arson.