A 13-year-old girl has sobbed in court as she told a judge about her father and younger sister who died in a fire started by a burglar trying to destroy evidence of a break-in across the street.
In a move thought to be the first of its kind, Mia Broadhead described her father Andrew Broadhead as “the world’s greatest superhero” and her sister Kiera as “the world’s brightest star” as she read out a statement at Leeds Crown Court.
Mia addressed the court before Daniel Jones, 29, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he was found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Broadhead and his eight-year-old daughter last month.
The teenager stood in the witness box and addressed the packed Courtroom One, telling the judge about her struggles to cope following the fire in October 2016, when she was 12, which she escaped with her mother.
But when she began to describe her father and sister she began to cry, wiping away tears and pushing her hair off her face as she continued to read out her words.
She told the court: “My daddy was the world’s greatest superhero and he was my hero. I am thankful for his happiness, kindness and his love for everyone – the way he was positive and how he always lifted everybody’s spirits.”
Mia said: “It is too hard to say goodbye to my dad so I say ‘if I don’t see you through the week, I’ll see you in my dreams. I love you daddy’.”
She said of Kiera: “My sissy was the world’s brightest star and nobody will dull her sparkle. I am thankful for the eight years we had with her – for her kindness, her funniness, her caring for one another and her humour. She didn’t deserve this, neither of them did.”
After she had finished reading out her statement, Mia returned to the public gallery where she was hugged by her mother, Sara Broadhead, who also read out a personal impact statement to the judge.
Jones, who sat in the dock wearing a light grey suit and was surrounded by prison officers, stared straight forward as the statements were read. He also showed no emotion as the judge, Mr Justice Morris, read out his sentence.
The judge had to give special permission for Mia even to be in the courtroom, as the usual age limit is 14 in the Crown Court.