AN Ilfracombe mother who lost her son and only grandson in a fire a year ago says she still hopes to wake up one day and find it has all been a nightmare.
Stephanie Watson, 45, lost her son Liam Timbrell, 23, and grandson Charlie Timbrell, 15 months, after an alcoholic neighbour set fire to his flat in Prestatyn, Wales, on October 19 2012.
Liam’s fiancée, Lee-Anna Shiers, 20, was also killed along with her niece, Skye Allen, 2, and nephew Bailey Allen, 4.
The couple’s neighbour, Melanie Smith, 43, was found guilty of five counts of murder after she started the fire following a row over a pram.
Speaking a year after the blaze, Stephanie and her son Owen Watson, 19, who run the Rainbow Café in Ilfracombe High Street, still remember the last time they saw Liam alive.
Owen said he still felt guilty about having not seen Liam since moving to North Devon five years ago.
“The last time I saw Liam was in October 2011,” added Stephanie. “That was also the only time I ever saw Charlie.
“There are days sometimes we think we will wake up and it will all have been a nightmare, but over time you realise that is never going to happen.”
Stephanie spends a lot of time helping people remember Liam, instead of dwelling on the horrific crime committed by Smith.
“She didn’t get away with it,” Stephanie added. “But it doesn’t matter what happens, it is not going to bring any of them back.”
Lee-Anna died during the blaze and Charlie died two days later in hospital.
“Within three or four minutes of Charlie dying we had a phone call to say Liam was worsening,” said Stephanie.
“It was as if Liam knew what had happened.”
Liam survived until November 5 when he died at 9.23am.
However, he did regain consciousness during that time.
“He managed to tell me he loved me, and every time he woke up there was a tear in his left eye,” said Stephanie.
She said there were seven people at Liam’s bedside when he died.
“There was almost a sense of relief when he died that I would not have to watch my son suffer coming to terms with what had happened,” said Stephanie.
Stephanie is continuing a campaign she began after Liam’s death to ensure multiple occupation houses have a fire exit, windows large enough to climb out of, smoke detectors and fire doors.