Tuesday February 1,2011
A JEALOUS mother killed two of her children when she torched the home she shared with her cheating partner, a court heard.
Fiona Adams sparked the blaze to “create a drama” after having been left to look after their three young children while her lover was unfaithful, it is alleged.
But tragically the fire started in a laundry basket by the “depressed” 23-year-old took a “rapid and devastating” hold, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
It swept through the family’s semi-detached home shortly before midnight, killing her daughter Niamh, five, and two-year-old son Cayden.
Adams and her eight-month-old son Kiernan escaped when she threw him onto a trampoline in the garden in Buxton, Derbys, and leapt to safety herself.
After the blaze a message posted on Adams’ Facebook page warned local thugs to stay away from her and the house. She claims she had been targeted by them in the weeks beforehand.
The court was yesterday shown footage from a neighbour’s CCTV on which a female repeatedly shouted “hello” against a background of crashing and banging.
The prosecution claims it was Adams at the outset of the drama she was determined to create.
The court was told her five-year relationship with her children’s father, hotel worker James Maynard, 28, was “volatile”.
She became pregnant shortly after the relationship began when she was 17 but it was dogged by his string of affairs.
Adams, scarred from her burns, wept silently as the trial opened. She denies murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to endanger life last April.
“This is a tragic case, but the tragedy that it represents was entirely avoidable,” said Timothy Spencer QC, prosecuting.
“Fiona Adams, in the spring of last year, was in an unhappy situation. No decent human being could fail to sympathise with her predicament.
“There were many ways in which she could have dealt with things. What she chose to do was create a drama around herself and her children, and that drama culminated in her starting a fire at her own home, the result of which was the fire which took a rapid and devastating hold.
“She and her youngest child, her baby, were spared but both suffered serious injuries.”
The court heard the couple moved into their council house a month after their first child was born in 2004. Within weeks Maynard was cheating on Adams with a supermarket worker.
Mr Spencer said Adams threatened to throw herself from a bridge in 2006. Weeks later she took a cocktail of lager and pills, saying she “wanted everything to go away”. Less than a month later she took another overdose while her two young children slept. Mr Spencer said of the overdoses: “This second attempt is important. If the first was a cry for help, this time she rendered herself unconscious, leaving two young children without adult supervision in the house.
“It seems James Maynard was untouched and unmoved by this episode and his philandering continued.” Within weeks he bedded one of Adams’ best friends and the couple were living apart. Adams told a social worker she tried to kill herself because the relationship had ended and she was “struggling to come to terms with him seeing other women”.
By November 2008 Maynard told social services he was living with Adams again and she was pregnant with their third child.
The court heard that despite the reconciliation Maynard cheated on Adams on New Year’s Eve, with the supermarket worker, and had an affair after Kiernan was born in August 2009.On the night of the fire Maynard took an extra shift at work which “annoyed” Adams because the previous evening he returned at 2am, the court was told.
Witnesses said Adams’ behaviour appeared normal in the hours before the blaze and only later that evening did she appear to have had a drink.
At 10pm the noises were heard on CCTV and Adams said her barbecue had been knocked over and flowers thrown around the garden.
The trial continues.