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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 November 2006, 18:13 GMT
Man jailed for four fire murders
Mark Goldstraw, picture from Staffordshire Police
Mark Goldstraw had denied four counts of murder
An "obsessive loner" has been jailed for life for killing his ex-girlfriend, two young children and a man in a fire.

Mark Goldstraw used petrol to blow up the home in revenge after he was dumped by girlfriend Samantha Carter, 16.

Her sister Patricia, 10, their brother Marcus, seven, and their mother's partner Roddy Hine also died.

Goldstraw, 31, who will serve at least 35 years, was on licence after being released early from a jail term for the manslaughter of a previous girlfriend.

He set fire to the house while the three children and Mr Hine slept, Staffordshire Crown Court heard.

[Clockwise from top left] Samantha Carter, Roddy Hine, Patricia Carter, Marcus Carter
Goldstraw waited until his four victims had gone to bed

The children's mother Amanda Carter was out at work and not in the house at the time.

She said in a statement outside court: "Mark Goldstraw has been convicted of a terrible crime against four lovely people. His punishment will never fit his crime.

"Roddy was always there for us. Sammy was my best friend as well as my daughter. Trish will always be my princess. Marcus will always be my little soldier."

Goldstraw had killed before when he beat his former lover Deborah Wheatley with a mallet in 2001 after she refused to leave her husband for him.

I have nightmares when all I see is my children screaming for help
Mark Carter, father

He had been on licence after being released early from a seven-year jail term.

The Probation Service said Goldstraw had been complying with his licence in the 18 months before the fire.

Outside court on Wednesday, the children's father Mark Carter said in a statement Goldstraw should stay locked up for the rest of his life describing him as the "lowest of the low".

He said: "My life has been turned upside down. Now I can hardly sleep at night. I have nightmares when all I see is my children screaming for help."

Det Ch Insp Dave Garrett, who investigated the murders, said the scene at Hillside Road was one of the most challenging ever encountered by Staffordshire Police.

The house after the fire
Police said the house was one of their most challenging scenes

"Mark Goldstraw is an extremely dangerous man," he said.

"He waited until his four victims had gone to bed before letting himself into the house, dousing the hallway with petrol and setting it alight.

"Goldstraw seems to be a loner, an obsessive who simply cannot stomach rejection. He now has the deaths of five people on his hands."

Richard Hine, the brother of Mr Hine, said his family could not understand why he had died.

"Goldstraw had killed before, we are angry that he was able to go on and kill again. If lessons are not learnt five lives will have been lost in vain," he said.

However, the Probation Service said a review showed its procedures regarding Goldstraw had been correct.

Spokesman Rob Mandley said: "I'm satisfied that from the information that we had during this case that the probation service would not be able to have prevented this terrible, dreadful crime that happened."

Reaction to Mark Goldstraw's conviction

Blast murderer 'betrayed' victim
01 Nov 06 |  Staffordshire
Texts read out in fatal fire case
26 Oct 06 |  Staffordshire
Murder accused seen buying petrol
20 Oct 06 |  Staffordshire
Man denies killing family in fire
27 Oct 06 |  Staffordshire
Murder accused 'sent text abuse'
19 Oct 06 |  Staffordshire
Murder accused had killed before
18 Oct 06 |  Staffordshire

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