A ‘truly wicked arsonist’ who set fire to a home and killed a mother of five children as well as a father-of-four was sentenced to life in prison. 

Craig Collier, age 35, was responsible for the deaths of Samantha Mills (31), and Reece Schofield (24). He started three fires at a house that had been abandoned where drug-addicts and lovers gathered to have sex. 

Collier of Huddersfield (West Yorkshire) was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison for his murders. 

A total of 13 years was given to him for concurrent arson and intent to endanger lives charges, as well as perverting the course of justice related to Clare Hill, Huddersfield, March this year.

Collier (pictured), of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was told he must serve a minimum term of 30 years for the murders at sentencing at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday

Collier (pictured), from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire was sent to Leeds Crown Court for his sentence.

Reece and Samantha died. Four others were also injured when they fell from the roof of their empty home. 

After two chairs and mattresses were intentionally set on fire, both women died of smoke inhalation.

Samantha’s father and mother made statements after the sentencing. There was so much she could look forward to in life.

“Due to actions of another, she won’t get to see her children grow up and to help them start families. She will not get the dream wedding that she longed for.

“It’s been nine months since I saw my family crumble and that was very distressing. We aren’t living the same way anymore and I doubt it will ever be again.

Losing Sammy had an enormous impact on everyone. Now, all we have are photographs and memories.

Reece and Samantha (pictured) were killed and and four others had to be rescued after they became trapped on the top floor of the empty home

Samantha (pictured) and Reece were both shot and killed. The four other rescuers had to save them from being trapped on top floors of their empty homes.

“We are aware that we are not the only ones who have been affected by this crime. We feel sorry for all the other victims and know that there are many other families who have been affected. This should never happen to any family.

“For myself and my family, I would like to say thank you to the police for their support during this terrible time. 

“We’d also like to say thank you to the firefighters and ambulance services for their heroic and brave actions that morning.”

Reece’s mother said that her daughter, Reece, and her family couldn’t find the words to adequately describe their pain. 

Elle added, “I am so devastated at the death of my son under such horrible circumstances.” 

“I’m haunted by the panicky, terrified voice he used during his 911 call. 

“It is a horrible thought to think of my son being afraid in his last moments. It breaks my heart every night.

“I didn’t get to say goodbye. That chance was taken from me cruelly. I was unable to comfort him and tell him how much he meant to me.

Three of those partygoers managed to escape through the skylight of the property, but three others, including Samantha and Reece (pictured), were unable to do so

While three of the partygoers were able to flee through the rooflight, Samantha and Reece, who are pictured, weren’t able to.

Reece has a 3-year-old daughter named Ayla who his family says he loved.

He added that his mother regretted not getting to know her father properly, and would be grieved when she was old enough to comprehend the cruelty of her father’s death.

“Craig Collier” is truly a wicked man. He did not show any remorse or explained the reasons he did it. 

Sharron Kaye (detective chief inspector) said, “I would like my team to thank their efforts and hardwork in bringing Collier justice.”

“Our condolences remain with Samantha’s family and the other four victims of this incident. We hope today’s result will provide some relief at this time. 

Clare Hill property was vacant at that time, but it had been previously occupied by homeless people as a place for “drug taking and alcohol”.

Pictured: A police presence is seen outside the scene in Huddersfield in March

Pictured: In March, a police officer was seen on the Huddersfield scene

Peter Moulson, QC the Prosecutor told jurors six individuals were in the upper floors of the house at 5.30 AM on March 23. They engaged in drug taking and consensual intimacy activity when they got trapped by the fire.

The skylight allowed three partygoers to escape, while Samantha, Reece and Reece were not able to.

A second woman was saved by firefighters, and she was taken to intensive care. She later made a full recovery.

After setting the three fires, he said that Collier had not been involved in drug-taking or sex activities. He returned to his Cambridge Hotel room, facing the burning house.

According to Mr Moulson, “A mattress that we claim was set on fire” by the defendant.

We believe that he later moved to the lower floor of the ground floor and lit another mattress in the room.

‘Then, while he was still on the floor, he moved a seat to the back of the front door and started a fire there before stepping out and returning to his room in the Cambridge Hotel.

“As a consequence of the three fires below them, they were forced to try to escape by a skylight and attic window.

Three people were evacuated by fire crews. Ms Mills and Mr Schofield, along with another woman, didn’t make it to temporary safety on the roof.

According to Mr Moulson, jurors heard that “all of them were saved at the time alive within that attic bedrooms because of bravery by the attending fire departments.

Reece Schofield and Samantha Mills, despite all the efforts made by those who were involved in their rescue, eventually died on the 26th and 29th March, respectively.

“The third rescuer was taken to intensive care, and she eventually recovered from the burns.