A 13-year-old-girl battled through tears to pay tribute in court to her ‘superhero’ father and sparkling ‘star’ sister before a judge jailed the burglar who killed them in a fire by torching their home for 20 years.
Mia Broadhead bravely stood in the witness box to speak movingly of how much she missed them and revealed the personal trauma she has suffered because of the blaze that ripped through the family home.
Mia addressed the court as Daniel Jones was today jailed for 20 years after being convicted of the manslaughter of Andrew Broadhead, 42, and his eight-year-old daughter Kiera.
The jury heard how Jones was worried that CCTV footage from the family’s home would reveal a raid he carried out three days earlier.
In a rare move, the teenager stood in the witness box and told the judge about her struggles to cope following the fire in October 2016, when she was 12.
But when she began to describe her father and sister she began to cry, wiping away tears and pushing her hair off her face as she stoically continued to read out her words.
She told the court: ‘My daddy was the world’s greatest superhero and he was my hero. I am thankful for his happiness, kindness and his love for everyone – the way he was positive and how he always lifted everybody’s spirits.’
Describing her sister Kiera, she said: ‘My sissy was the world’s brightest star and nobody will dull her sparkle. I am thankful for the eight years we had with her – for her kindness, her funniness, her caring for one another and her humour. She didn’t deserve this, neither of them did.’
After she had finished reading out her statement, Mia returned to the public gallery where she was hugged by her mother, Sara Broadhead, who also read out a personal impact statement to the judge.
Mrs Broadhead, wearing a wedding ring on a chain around her neck, fought back tears as she paid tribute to her husband and daughter.
She said: ‘My little angel was one of a kind…her kindness always overwhelmed me.
‘In her short eight years, Kiera lived life to the full. This world is going to be a dull place without her smile and laughter and I know she will live on in everybody’s hearts and memories.’
Describing her husband, she added: ‘He was loving, kind, honest and supportive. As well as being an amazing husband he was also a fantastic father.
‘I can’t say goodbye to him because that makes it final. Instead, I say “see you in a bit” because one day we will be together again.’
Jones, who sat in the dock wearing a light grey suit and was surrounded by prison officers, stared straight forward as the statements were read.
The judge, Mr Justice Morris, had to give special permission for Mia even to be in the courtroom, as the usual age limit is 14 in the Crown Court.
Passing sentence Mr Justice Morris said the mother and daughter ‘have to live not only with the trauma of the events that night but with their devastating loss.’
He told the defendant: ‘You have caused the death of two people and enormous pain and suffering to Sara and Mia Broadhead and their wider family.’
The trial heard how Mr and Mrs Broadhead and their two daughters were asleep in their home in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in the early hours of October 19 last year when Jones poured petrol through their front door letterbox and set it alight.
Mrs Broadhead and Mia managed to escape, but Mr Broadhead and Kiera were overcome by the rapidly spreading smoke and fire and were later pronounced dead at the scene in Stanley.
In October a jury found him not guilty of two counts of murder but guilty of two counts of manslaughter.
Debt-ridden Jones stole a safe from a friend’s house in Ash Crescent in the early hours of October 16, the court was told.
The friend quickly became suspicious that Jones was the culprit and invited him to his address on the evening of October 18.
Jones was challenged about the theft and denied it but was then told that CCTV in the neighbourhood, including the Broadhead family home, could have caught him in the act.
No Comments »