Teenager jailed for at least six years for killing sisters
A TEENAGER who killed his two sisters when he set fire to his family home was jailed for at least six years yesterday.
Shane Spence, 18, was given an indeterminate sentence after he was found guilty by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court of the manslaughter of Tatum Leah, 14, and Demi Jade, 12.
In April last year he poured petrol on to the sofa in the living-room of the family's home in Tyneside and set it alight as they slept .
In February the jury found Spence guilty of manslaughter and arson, but not guilty of the attempted murder of his parents Anita and John Spence, both 37.
Spence, who was not living at the family home in Lisle Road, South Shields, at the time, crept in at around 12:45am on 4 April, after telling a friend that he was going there to pick up a CD.
The teenager, who was 17 at the time, set the sofa alight before returning to the friend's house to continue watching the film, 28 Days Later.
The fire tore through the house in minutes. Spence's father sustained 42 per cent burns trying to rescue his children, but Demi Jade and Tatum Leah both died in their bedrooms of smoke inhalation and burns.
Sentencing Spence yesterday, Mr Justice Simon ordered him to serve at least six years in prison before he could be considered for parole.
He said: "This case stands as a warning of the appalling consequences of setting fire to houses, even where the intention is not to kill or cause really serious injury."
However, Mr Spence is convinced of his son's innocence, saying he had been "set up".
He has offered 25,000 for information that will lead to the conviction of the person he believes is responsible for the deaths of his two "babies".
Speaking outside the court yesterday, Mr Spence said: "The verdict was what we expected, but the campaign still goes on. The lad is innocent."
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