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court review Four children killed in a house fire were so neglected they could barely talk

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The tragedy underwent a serious case review

The tragedy underwent a serious case review

The tragedy underwent a serious case review

A review has found four children killed in a house fire in the UK were so neglected they could barely talk.

Riley Holt (8), Keegan Unitt (6), Tilly Rose Unitt (4) and three-year-old Olly Unitt perished in the blaze in Sycamore Lane in Staffordshire in 2019.

Mum Natalie Unitt and her boyfriend Chris Moulton were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence after the tragedy in Stafford in February last year.

However, in August prosecutors said no further action would be taken.

A serious case review into the tragedy has revealed some of the neglected children communicated by "grunting" and they had 50 injuries.

Review author Joanna Nicolas said: “One of the greatest concerns about the children was their lack of speech.

"Professionals described the home as silent, despite there being five children in it.”

At an inquest into the deaths, which was held in November, Ms Unitt said she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and had no recollection of how the blaze began.

Mr Moulton, father of three of the children, said he believed the fire had started on a landing.

The tragedy happened when the parents fell asleep in bed while smoking, an inquest heard.

Both parents had previously been warned about smoking indoors by social workers, it was heard.

Coroner Andrew Haigh said: “Mrs Unitt had been advised not to smoke in the property but there is substantial evidence of them continuing to do so.

“It’s understandable they tried to play down the significance of this bearing in mind what has happened.

“Mr Moulton suggested that the fire may have been caused where the boiler is on the landing on the property.

"I do not accept that."

Online Editors


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