Parents have vented their anger on social media after it was revealed a couple whose children died in a devastating house fire had previously been warned not to smoke in bed.
Hundreds of StokeonTrentLive readers were left angry after an inquest into the deaths of four children found the fire started after Natalie Unitt and Christopher Moulton had been smoking in bed.
One of the cigarettes is thought to have ignited the bedding.
Siblings Riley Holt, aged eight, six-year-old Keegan Unitt, Tilly Unitt, aged four, and three-year-old Olly Unitt were all killed in the blaze.
Their youngest brother, aged two at the time, survived as he’d been sleeping in his parents’ bedroom at the property in Sycamore Lane, Highfields, Stafford.
Parent Tracy Black Jennings is a smoker. She said: “I never smoke inside my house. Why? Because I have children and I won’t let anyone else smoke inside either.”
Jase Thompson said: “This is such a tragic story and it’s such a shame these children lost their lives.
“I no longer smoke myself but I urge anyone that does to take it outside and prevent this from happening again.”
And Jo Meek agreed. She said: “This is a really heartbreaking story. People should not smoke when pregnant or when there are little ones are around.”
Megann Higgs said: “Why would you smoke in bed knowing a child is asleep in the same room? In fact why would you smoke in bed anyway?” and Shannan Keating said: “There is no way I’d be smoking in the same house as my children or in the same bed – that’s absolutely vile.”
A search of the charred remains revealed there had been more than 100 cigarette butts left lying around different rooms of the house. One cigarette found in a window casement had not been stubbed out.
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It emerged the couple had earlier been advised by social services against smoking inside their home.
Mr Richards said the remains of a glass ashtray was found, which appeared to have melted onto the mattress springs on their bed.
There had been three smoke detectors in the house. Yet the inquest heard that studies have shown children often don’t hear detectors go off, despite adults responding to the sound.