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Monday, October 11, 1999 Published at 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK


UK: Wales

Fire killings - four years on

Shauna and Sarah Jane died in the blaze with their mother

Four years since an arson attack which killed a woman and her two young daughters, the hunt for the killers is still going on.

Dianne Jones, 21, and her daughters Shauna, two, and 13-month-old Sarah Jane died in their blazing home on the Gurnos estate, Merthyr Tydfil, in October 1995.

The front door of the house had been torn away and petrol had been poured through to start a fire which spread rapidly.

Three local women - Donna Clarke, her aunt Annette Hewins and Denise Sullivan - were arrested for offences relating to the crime. It had been alleged they had conspired to set the house on fire in revenge at a love affair involving Dianne Jones's partner.


[ image: Diane Jones was 21 when she died]
Diane Jones was 21 when she died
At Cardiff Crown Court in June 1997 Ms Clarke and Ms Hewins were cleared of murder, but convicted of arson with intent to endanger life.

They were given sentences totalling 33 years in prison.

Denise Sullivan, 25 at the time, was cleared of offences connected with the fire, but was convicted of perverting the course of justice. She was jailed for four years. Her sentence was reduced on appeal to three and a half.

But after nearly four years in prison, an Appeal Court hearing in February this year released Ms Hewins from her 13-year sentence and quashed her conviction.

The court ruled there had not been sufficient evidence to prove the case against her.

The same hearing also quashed Donna Clarke's conviction and ordered a new trial.

In April, she was freed from her 20-year sentence.

All the women returned to live in Merthyr.

Four years since the deaths which shocked a community, the hunt for the killers is still going on.



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