Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009

Brothers jailed for arson killing

Shaun Winwood and Simon Pass
Shaun Winwood and Simon Pass were jailed for six years

Two teenage brothers who started a fire at a derelict factory in which two homeless people died have been sentenced to six years in custody.

Simon Pass, 14, and Shaun Winwood, 19, started the blaze at the Hamilton Reid factory in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, in the early hours of 4 July 2007.

Jessica Beech and Darren Asher, both 26, who were sleeping inside, died.

Pass and Winwood were found guilty of arson and manslaughter in November and sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court.

The judge, Mrs Justice Raffery, said the brothers were "breathtakingly immature" and she criticised their parents for taking too little interest in them.

Jessica Beech and Darren Asher
Jessica Beech and Darren Asher were sleeping in the factory

She said: "During your trial I wished your feckless parents were in the dock with you and I am absolutely confident the jury would have agreed that they have been worse than useless so far as you two are concerned."

She added: "You must be locked up. Sadly, that may be the best opportunity you have yet had."

Nick Price, district crown prosecutor for Staffordshire, said: "It was not the teenagers' intention to kill Jessica and Darren, but their reckless and dangerous actions did.

"Setting fire to the derelict warehouse was a mindless action which led to these tragic consequences."

Both Winwood and Pass will spend their sentence in a young offenders institution.

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