Two teenagers have been found guilty of killing a mother by pushing a firework through her letterbox as part of a campaign of bullying against her teenage son.
Sick Owen Hewitt, 18, and Samuel Luckes, 17 – along with Ryan Croft, 18, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing – dropped the specially-adapted explosive into the hallway of Mary Fox, 59.
The trio even snapped the balancing stick off the rocket so it would ”skip around” and let off a shower of sparks to cause the maximum damage.
They used the firework on Bonfire Night last year to scare mum-of-nine Mary and her son Raum, 18, who they were bullying because of his acne.
Mary had been so scared about possible attacks she had barricaded her door and letterbox with boxes which caught fire when the firework hit the floor.
A huge blaze quickly ripped through the family home while Mary and Raum were upstairs.
Raum managed to jump to safety from an upstairs window but, despite pleading with her to jump, Mary was trapped inside and died in the fire.
CCTV later showed that while Mary was dying in the inferno the youths were casually eating at a local takeaway.
They later returned to the scene of the crime and when they found out she had died were heard ”laughing and joking”.
Yesterday Hewitt and Luckes, of Bodmin, Cornwall, were found guilty of unlawful killing and arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered.
Croft, of Bodmin, had already pleaded guilty to the same offences at an earlier hearing.
The three yobs, who lived near Mary and Raum on a housing estate in Bodmin, had picked on him for years because of his spots.
They later dubbed him a ”mummy’s boy” because Mary used to walk him to college to protect him from the daily taunts.
The thugs then turned on her and called her a ”fat bitch” and she was so frightened of attacks she had ”barricaded” the front door of her home.
On the day of the attack Hewitt’s father bought him alcohol and fireworks including powerful ‘super missiles’ which they kept in a rucksack.
They spent they day firing rockets from their hands and aimed them at passers-by.
Neighbours said they boasted of having ”£103 worth of fireworks” and would ”set them off later”.
The youths went to Mary’s home on their way to a bonfire and snapped the guidance stick off the ‘Silver Dart’ rocket so it would skip around when it hit the floor.
Paul Dunkels QC, prosecuting, previously told court that the three boys had all blamed each other for dropping the firework through the letter box.
He said: ”Raum, 17 at the time, had been bullied at school. He had bad acne on his face and used to dress differently to other children.
”He was pushed, struck and verbally abused. This went on until he left school and carried on afterwards. Mary Fox was also subjected to abuse.
”The two defendants knew that Raum Fox lived at the address they put the firework through, knowing they would be inside and intending to frighten them.
”The house was chosen because of who lived there. When they were told they just laughed and carried on their evening in complete disregard.
”They were in it together. It does not matter who did what, particularly. Each did some part. The consequence is that Mary Fox died and they are all jointly responsible for that.”
The court was shown CCTV footage of the three defendants as they calmly ate a take away at around 7.45pm – just half an hour after the fire became an inferno.
Raum managed to jump to safety from an upstairs window and ran to a neighbour’s house covered in soot to raise the alarm.
He then ran back and ”screamed” at his mum to leap from the window but she was trapped trying to save her cats and died.
Mary died of smoke inhalation and Raum escaped with minor injuries and is now being looked after by family.
Mr Dunkels added: ”’They took a rocket, snapped the stick, lit it and put it through the letter box.
”They went to Raum’s bedroom and he jumped from the window into the garden below and shouted for his mother to follow.
”But she was not an agile woman and she found it impossible to escape. The fire was burning ferociously.”
A friend of the three yobs said she had seen them after the fire and they were ”all laughing and joking” about it.
In a statement released after her death her family paid tribute to Mary and described her as ”special and unique”.
It said: ”She was a supporter of many charities. She was a special and unique person and we all miss her dearly.”
Mary Fox’s daughter Leonie Carter, 31, a mother-of-three from Bodmin, Cornwall, said and her eight siblings are ”sticking together”.
She said: ”It was a massive shock. We are sticking together and just trying to get through it as a family. That is what families do.”