THE family of pensioners Albert and Kath Adams, who died in their Rugby home after it was set on fire, have slammed the justice system for letting them down after the court case surrounding their deaths collapsed.
A 17-year-old Rugby boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to a hospital order at Birmingham Crown Court last Friday after admitting earlier in the year that he was guilty of starting a fire at Harold Cox Place in Bilton in the early hours of Monday, March 1 last year.
Two counts of manslaughter relating to the couple, who died from smoke inhalation following an earlier fire at their home in the same sheltered housing complex in the early hours of Saturday, February 26 last year, will lie on file.
The couple, both 77, became trapped in their home after their mobility scooter parked outside was set on fire and flames spread.
During the trial, which started in January this year, the prosecution decided not to pursue manslaughter charges and the teenager pleaded guilty to an arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered relating to a different fire.
Following Friday’s sentencing the family of the couple issued a statement saying: “The British justice system has failed them and us.”
The family said they are ‘very disappointed’ with the outcome of the trial, saying: “The person who was originally arrested for our parents’ manslaughter was let off that charge if he pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of the second fire. Because the evidence was not sufficient and some professional people were not strong enough in court, the case collapsed and we feel very let down by the justice system. No justice has been given to our extended family or to our wonderful mum and dad.”
They added: “British justice no longer helps the innocent parties but panders to the political correctness of a higher authority, or so it would seem to us who have sat and observed the trial’s stops and starts.”
The family, who said they all miss Albert and Kath especially the grandchildren, described the couple as law-abiding people who brought their children up to be the same.
They said: “When you see the accused laughing and walking around freely in front of the victims’ family without any apparent cares, you wonder just who is on trial. Our family are still struggling to come to terms with mum and dad’s horrific and needless death.
“We live in hope that one day mum and dad will get the justice they and our family deserve. “
Since the trial the teenager, who has learning difficulties and an unhealthy obsession with fire, has been under an interim hospital order and has been assessed by doctors.
His sentencing means that he will detained in secure accommodation until it is deemed that he is safe to be released.
DCI James Essex, from the Major Investigation Unit, said: “I regret that Mr and Mrs Adams’ family have not seen justice done for their loved ones. “This was a complex and difficult case involving a number of young people as witnesses and a young suspect. I do hope the family can take some solace knowing that this dangerous individual is not at liberty to cause further harm within the community.”