Date: 11 Oct 1995
Dianne Jones 21, Shauna Hibbard 2 and Sarah Jane Hibbard 1 died in a house fire.
Two women were convicted of arson with intent to endanger life, but they were later released on appeal after it was found there was insufficient evidence against them.
The front door had been torn away and petrol had then been poured in to their house at 62 Marigold Close on the Guernos Estate, a council estate, in Merthyr, at 2am whilst the family were asleep, and then set alight.
Dianne Jones died whilst trying to save her two daughters Shauna Hibbard and Sarah Hibbard, who both also died in the fire. She had been trapped in the property. She was found dead with her arms stretched around Sarah Hibbard as though to shield her with Shauna Hibbard lying dead a few feet away.
Before they died, Dianne Jones was heard screaming out of her window, 'My babies! My babies!'. However, it was said that the act of opening the bedroom window had caused a rush of air up the stairs that sucked the fire up into the upper floor of the house and the bedroom that she was in.
It was said that the murders had stemmed from a bitter rivalry between Dianne Jones and two ex-lovers of her partner. It was heard that Dianne Jones's partner had had an affair with one of the women initially convicted of the arson, but that he had then spurned her and gone back to Dianne Jones. The woman was said to have said, 'I can't wait to get my hands-on Diane, I'm going to petrol-bomb her'. It was then said that her aunt then supplied her with the petrol. The other lover of Dianne Jones's partner was convicted of perverting the course of justice. However, the two women convicted of arson were later acquitted on appeal due to lack of evidence and the woman who was convicted of perverting the course of justice had her sentence reduced.
It was heard that Dianne Jones had threatened to tell the partner of the woman that had had the affair with her partner about the relationship. The woman’s partner was a man who was in prison serving a two-year sentence for manslaughter who was due to be released shortly.
Dianne Jones's partner, who attended the funeral of Dianne Jones and their children handcuffed to a prison warder, said that the woman that he had had the affair with would not leave him alone after it was over. He said that she would call him and even started dressing up like Dianne Jones adding that she would watch Dianne Jones in the morning to see what she was wearing and then go home and dress up in similar clothes.
Following the murders, Dianne Jones father later took his own life. It was said that he could not live without them.
When the police appealed for information on the tenth anniversary of the fire in 2005, they conceded that the people responsible for it might never be caught without the public's help, and in particular, the help of the Guernos Estate resident. Th police said, 'Unless we get new information, we may not have an end to this from an investigation point of view'.
62 Marigold Close and the surrounding properties were later demolished, and the area redeveloped.