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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 13:38 GMT
Parents jailed over fire deaths
Lindsey and Scott Miller
Lindsey and Scott Miller's two young boys died after a house fire
The parents of two young boys who died after being trapped in their bedroom in a fire have been jailed for neglect.

Nathan Miller, aged two, and 18-month-old Jeremy died weeks after the fire started in the bedroom of their Northampton home in June 2004.

Parents Lindsey, 33, and Scott Miller, 29, were jailed for two years and 12 months respectively on Tuesday.

Judge Richard Bray at Northampton Crown Court said they had been "selfish" in locking the boys in their bedroom.

The court heard the two boys had suffered 80% burns in the blaze in the bedroom of their Northampton council house in June 2004.

Nathan is thought to have started the fire.

'Locked in rooms'

Sentencing the pair, Judge Richard Bray rejected their claims that their low intelligence was a factor in the boys' deaths, saying they had encouraged or condoned Nathan to play with matches, showing him off to friends as a "party trick".

Judge Bray told Lindsey Miller: "You continued to allow him access to matches even after you had been warned by neighbours and your mother.

"You effectively locked the children in their rooms by means of reversing the door handle and fastening of a tie.

"This was done for your own selfish reasons so you would not be disturbed."

The court has heard that the couple both had IQs of just 66, putting them in the bottom two per cent of the country.

'Sentences harsh'

Scott Miller is also an alcoholic, leaving Lindsey to cope with the children on her own, defence counsel added.

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Miller's father Alan Harrison said he thought the sentences on the pair were harsh.

Social services, he said, must bear part of the blame for the tragedy for not giving enough help to the couple.

He said: "The sentences were a bit of a shock, they have done nothing malicious."

Mr Harrison said neither Scott nor Lindsey were ever abusive parents, adding: "Neither of them to my knowledge have ever done anything to those children. I don't even remember Scott smacking them. This was a total one-off tragic accident."

The Millers' social care authority Northamptonshire County Council said later that a full review of the help offered to the couple had been carried out and would be made public in the coming weeks.




SEE ALSO:
Door trapped fire death brothers
31 Jan 06 |  Northamptonshire


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