A mother has detailed the heartbreak of losing her two sons after her estranged husband trapped them in the loft and set their house on fire.
The horrific details will unfold tonight in Crime + Investigation’s new documentary Family Man.
In October 2014, Darren Sykes deliberately set a number of small fires in his house, killing his two young sons – Jack, 12, and Paul, 9 – and himself to punish his estranged wife Claire Throssell.
Darren lured his sons to the attic with the promise of an £800 train set. He then doused the carpets with petrol and barricaded them in the loft, blocking the doors with furniture to prevent them from escaping.
Speaking ahead of the documentary, Claire believes that Darren killed their two children as a punishment to her.
‘He took the boys lives to punish me, he knew they were my world and I was their world,’ Claire told us.
‘They’re only sleeping now because of me, and I have to live with that.’
Paul and Darren died in the fire, but Claire’s eldest son Jack, who attempted to escape was rescued by a firefighter.
Claire recalls how Jack muttered his last words to the firefighter before he tragically died in hospital five days later.
‘Paul had fallen unconscious due to the smoke and the flame, it (Darren) was in the corner of the attic and Jack had started to go to the attic hatchway and Paul was following him,’ Claire continued.
‘But unfortunately Jack fell backwards through the hatchway and in to the flames below. Jack didn’t know that Darren had set 14 different fires so there was no way they could have got out.
‘The only time that Jack’s voice was heard was when the fireman cradled him and picked him up from the flames.
‘And he said to the firemen “My dad did this and he did it on purpose”.’
Despite Darren’s efforts of barricading the house, the firemen were able to break down the door so they could carry Jack and Paul out to their heartbroken mother.
Speaking about that tragic moment Claire added: ‘I could only hold them as they died.
‘Those firemen gave me that time, so it was my arms they died in and not a fireman’s or a doctors and I’ll always be grateful for that.’
The one-off hour special narrated by TV presenter Anita Rani will mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
It will also air in conjunction with Crime + Investigation’s #HereForHer initiative and support of the UK domestic abuse charity, Refuge.
Claire went on to explain how for the first fours years of their relationship Darren would be romantic and shower her with flowers, although things soon took a turn when her husband became controlling and abusive.
‘He would throw a remote control at my head, he threw a chair across the room,’ she explained.
‘I lost six stone because he told me to, he would buy all my clothes and he even told me what nail varnish to wear.’
After she finally plucked up the courage to leave the abusive relationship, Darren would stalk Claire daily – and he even made threats to kill her sons before he carried out his awful plan.
Claire hopes that by sharing her tragic story, it will help other people suffering in an abusive relationship.
She said: ‘Anybody who watches this programme, if they see something that makes them think about their relationship or if they’re trapped and scared in a relationship, then it gives them the courage to do what I did.
‘But to have a good ending and be able to start life again with their children. Then it has made a difference.’
It also takes a look at the case of Robert Mochrie, who, in July 2000, killed his wife, Catherine and their four children, before poisoning and hanging himself.
Family Man premieres on CRIME+INVESTIGATION with the first episode airing on Wednesday, November 25, at 9pm.
Family Man be available for 30 days on catch up.
Victim Support offers support to survivors of rape and sexual abuse. You can contact them on 0333 300 6389.
Credit: Original article published here.