Langley Mill: A community still coming to terms with terrible events

The scene of the fire in Langley Mill.
The scene of the fire in Langley Mill.

Bitter cold and steady rain seemed to fit the mood in Langley Mill on Friday morning as the small community came to terms with the guilty verdicts handed down the previous day.

As Peter, Simon and Anthony Eyre were given a total of 81 years behind bars, many in the town reflected on the terrible events of last June and whether such sentences could ever represent justice for the bereaved families.

Walking past the still boarded up flats where the arson attack took place was a 63-year-old ‘Langley Mill girl’ who preferred to remain nameless.

She said: “I just hope that they never come out.

“Three young lives have gone - that baby never even saw its first Christmas and the other two hadn’t even started out in life had they?

“I have grandchildren of my own - it’s just heartbreaking.”

Sean Hogan, 50, whose house is directly across the road from where the fire took place, remembered the night vividly.

“I was woken up at about 4am by someone ringing the bell, looked outside and saw lots of people running around,” said Sean.

“The fire crews got it under control quickly but by that time it was too late.”

And in terms of the sentences he was unequivocal.

“It really had to be life didn’t it? Three young lives were taken and for something so petty as well.”

Over the road at St Andrew’s Church, David and Lesley Fidler, both 68, also recalled the night in question but also the way the community came together afterwards.

“It was devastating but one positive thing to come out of it was the way people wanted to do everything they could to help,” said David.

“The whole of one side of the church was full of toys and clothes and people were leaving bags outside full of donations.”

But the general sense amongst most was that the life sentences the killers had received were not enough for the crimes they had committed.

A shop assistant at a local convenience store spoke for many when she said she hoped the three men would ‘rot’.

“Who does something like that,” she asked.

“If it was my family I’d want them gone.”