Sun, 05 Oct 2008
The mother of two young children killed in a fire at their family home has been marched away by police after trying to lay flowers on her own doorstep.
Denise Goldsmith, 29, said she wanted to pay tribute to her sons Lewis, seven, and Taylor, five, who died when a blaze broke out at their house in the coastal town of Eastbourne, Sussex.
The mother was locked out of the property on Saturday afternoon while her children were trapped inside as the flames tore through the house.
She returned to the scene yesterday, and witnesses said that she became hysterical when police told her she could not pass a cordon while forensics teams worked at the property. She pleaded: "Let me in, I need to leave these flowers for my boys. I need to get through, this is my home."
Mrs Goldsmith and members of her family then hit out at officers, according to witnesses, and were led back to their car and advised to leave. A forensic investigator finally retrieved the bunch of flowers, which had been dropped on the road, and placed it on the doorstep behind the cordon.
Jason Maynard, 35, who attempted to save the children, revealed their "devastating" last moments. He said that Mrs Goldsmith had run out of the house to seek help tackling the fire - leaving the children inside - but had locked herself out when the front door slammed behind her. The boys were left trapped inside.
Mr Maynard, who was in a neighbouring house when he heard shouting and went outside, said: "The mother was outside on the path, just screaming the place down. She couldn't get back in. "She told me her kids were playing inside, under the stairs. She was screaming, please save my kids, get them out, my kids, my kids, my kids. "The kids wouldn't have been able to reach the door latch to let themselves out. They were just trapped."
The witness said that attempts to break into the house were futile. "The kitchen had already caught fire. The house was just full of flames and there was a huge amount of smoke.
"There was nothing we could do. When the fire brigade turned up they battered the door down and went inside, then brought the kids' bodies out and laid them on the pavement. "It's absolutely heartbreaking."
Linda Carey, a friend of the children's father, Stuart Jenkins, said: "Both Stuart and Denise absolutely doted on those boys. I have no idea how she must be feeling right now. "Doctors have put her on sedatives to calm her down. But she must be absolutely torn apart."