Father started blaze which killed his two sons, inquest told

Darren Sykes with his son Paul  (L) and Jack (R)
Darren Sykes with his son Paul (L) and Jack (R)

A man who died in a blaze which killed his two sons started the fire and barricaded doors shut inside the house to trap them inside, an inquest heard.

Darren Sykes, aged 44, of Tennyson Close, Penistone, perished in the blaze last October.

His son Paul, nine, died on the same day and his oldest child Jack, 12, died in hospital five days later.

Coroner Chris Dorries, presiding over today’s hearing, recorded a verdict that Mr Skyes ‘took his own life by suicide’.

He said: “I’m perfectly aware this is a dreadful day for everyone involved.”

Inquests into the deaths of Mr Sykes’ two children are to be held in the same court at Sheffield’s Medico Legal Centre on Wednesday.

The court heard Mr Sykes died after inhaling toxic fumes.

It has emerged that he bought a train set, placed it in the loft and told his two sons he needed drivers, before setting fire to petrol in the house and trapping himself and his two sons inside.

The kitchen door was wedged closed with a dining chair, effectively to stop anyone from being able to escape.

Four cans of petrol were found in the house and the accelerant had been placed at 14 sites around the property.

The fire did not spread to the loft, where the trio were, but the hatch door was open.

One of Mr Sykes’ sons was found at the bottom of the loft ladder, the other was discovered by firemen in the loft.

Mr Sykes sent a text message to six people to say he was going to be at peace, moments before the fire started.