Carol Sharlett, Ayshja Jones and Leanne Perrin in the motel they are staying at after their home was burnt down last week. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Mother’s double tragedy after fire


A woman whose baby was killed in 1998 says it felt like losing him all over again after the physical memories of him were destroyed in a house fire.

Last Tuesday evening, Leanne Perrin was in her Stoke home sitting watching television with her daughter when the she heard something smash.

“So, I opened the kitchen door and I had to shut it again because it was in flames.”

Leanne had recently cooked some chips in a fryer and apparently forgotten to turn the oil off.

Panic set in and Leanne moved to get her children out of harm’s way.

“My oldest daughter grabbed her son and ran out and I grabbed Ayshja and got her out of the house, the roof was already caving in.”

Leanne’s other two sons were luckily at their grandmother’s house for a sleepover.

“They would have been in bed and that’s the room that was right next to the kitchen.”

Leanne was shocked at the speed in which the fire spread.

“We were really lucky we got out because it just went up so fast, it could have been a lot worse.

After getting her family safe and calling the fire station, there was little Leanne could do but watch on in horror.

“We just stood there and watched the flames,” she says. “I was just frantic and crying.”

To add to the tragedy, Leanne also lost some treasured items of her son Jayden, who was killed when he was just 10 months old.

Coroners concluded blunt force trauma to be the cause of death. His killer is still yet to be determined.

A lock of Jayden’s hair, his handprint and an album of photos were among the many casualties of the fire.

“Those are the things that can’t be replaced, it’s like losing him all over again, that’s how it feels.”

Also lost in the fire were toys, bedding, clothes and jewelry.

“Everything’s gone, it’s all gone.”

Leanne says she felt numb as she tries coming to terms with it all.

“I have had a hard time sleeping, any noise I hear I think there’s a fire, or think I smell smoke.”

As a beneficiary, Leanne has no contents insurance, or savings.

Her and her family have been relying on the kindness of the community to survive.

“I have six kids so it’s really tough, but I have to keep moving forward for them.”