Teenager faces fire murder charges
A tearful teenager has appeared in court charged with the murder of four siblings in a house fire.
Dyson Allen, 19, struggled to hold back tears as he stood in the dock accused of the murders in the fire which engulfed a bungalow in Freckleton, Lancashire, last January.
Allen, wearing a white shirt hanging outside his trousers and a grey hoodie, is alleged to have killed Reece Smith, 19, four-year-old twins Holly and Ella Smith, and two-year-old Jordan Smith on January 7.
The defendant made a brief appearance for a hearing lasting just two minutes at Blackpool Magistrates' Court after being charged with the four murders by Lancashire Police on Thursday night.
Flanked by a security guard, he sat, head in hands, during the hearing and spoke only to confirm his name and address and nodded when asked if he understood proceedings.
Joanne Cunliffe, prosecuting, asked the bench to remand the defendant into custody and send the case to Preston Crown Court for a further hearing on Monday.
Hugh Pond, defending, told the court: "Dyson Allen denied these allegations, when interviewed on the 11th and 12th of January this year. He denied it at length on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and will continue to deny the matter when it comes before Preston Crown Court next week."
The four victims died after the blaze at a converted bungalow in Freckleton, a village between Blackpool and Preston, which broke out about 11.30pm on January 7. Flames engulfed the property just hours after the family held a party at the house to celebrate the birthday of the victims' mother Michelle Smith.
Ms Smith, 36, who has five other children, survived the blaze. The four siblings were taken to hospital following the fire but died later from smoke inhalation.
Collette Woodhouse, chair of the bench, told Dyson, of no fixed abode, he must remain in custody before his appearance at the crown court at Preston on Monday.