Walsall woman convicted of killing husband by setting fire to him

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By CarlyBaldwin | Friday, August 17, 2012, 13:43

A Walsall woman has been found guilty of murdering her husband by setting him alight in bed and causing a serious house fire whilst four of her step-daughters were also in the home.

Georgina Pontes Furtado Viella was convicted of murder and arson with intent to endanger life at Wolverhampton Crown Court earlier today following a two week trial.

The jury heard how emergency services were called to a fire at a house on Pleck Road in Walsall at around 5am on 28 March last year.

It had been started in the first floor back bedroom by 47-year-old Georgina, who is believed to have deliberately poured petrol on her 45-year-old husband Carlos, as he lay on the bed.

She then left the property and watched as neighbours and emergency services battled to rescue Carlos and four of his six daughters, aged 13 to 21, who were all trapped inside.

One of the daughters, aged 17 at the time, suffered a broken pelvis and leg after she jumped from the first floor window. The 21-year-old daughter suffered smoke inhalation as well as cuts and bruises, while a 13-year-old girl was rescued by neighbours as she climbed onto a porch roof.

The most seriously injured daughter, aged 14, suffered 60 per cent burns in the blaze and had to be rescued from inside the house by the fire service. She was resuscitated by emergency services at the scene and has only recently been discharged from hospital, with life-changing injuries.

Detective Sergeant Rob Bastin, from the Major Investigation Review Team, said: "This tragic event has clearly devastated the family and has had a significant effect on the community around them.

"I would like to thank all of the emergency workers who attended the scene on that tragic morning, in particular the fire service, whose efforts saved the life of the 14-year-old girl trapped inside.

"I also want to pay tribute to the community spirited neighbours who helped rescue the girls, who, without their help, may not have survived."

DS Bastin added: "This was a horrific case, in which Viella acted in a cold and calculating way. We have evidence of her buying petrol from a garage a couple of days before the murder. This was a premeditated act, which left six daughters without a father and at least one of those girls with life changing injuries."

Carlos Viella's family released the following statement: "We are pleased that justice has been done for our much missed father Carlos and for all the people that Georgina put at risk by her actions.

"However, we do forgive Georgina for what she did and we are now looking forward to moving on with our lives to a positive future.

"We would like to thank our family, friends and all the different authorities who have helped and supported us through this difficult time  West Midlands Fire Service, West Midlands Police, Joseph Leckie School, our church and particularly Birmingham Children's Hospital, for their wonderful care of Josefina following her injuries."

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