'Eerie' life on Clifton cul-de-sac where a mum and her babies died in tragic fire

General exterior view of 21 and 23 Fairisle Close, with the white front door to 23, through which Jamie Barrow poured petrol and set it alight, on the side to the right, and front door to 21, in navy, on left
Fatoumatta Hydara and her children Fatimah and Naeemah Drammeh lived on the first floor of this property at 23 Fairisle Close, with the front door, through which Jamie Barrow poured petrol and set it alight, on the right -Credit:Nottingham Post

Eighteen months on from a horrific murder of a mum and her two children in a quiet community in Clifton, evil perpetrator Jamie Barrow has had the minimum term on his life sentence reduced. Reporter Joseph Connolly went out to the street of the tragedy to see how neighbours reacted to the news from the Court of Appeal - and to find out how life had changed in the small cul-de-sac.

There is a certain uncomfortable feeling in the stomach while driving down Farnborough Road towards Fairisle Close. Those who don't know what happened here wouldn't know any better now; the cul-de-sac is quiet and there is no evidence of the events of November 20, 2022.

But around here, everyone knows. They were here and they remember the night 28-year-old Fatoumatta Hydara and her two children, three-year-old Fatimah and one-year-old Naeemah Drammeh were murdered in their home by Jamie Barrow.

"I saw people on the green trying to revive them," says a neighbour. "It was the worst thing ever. They were innocent little kids."

Barrow, 31, was originally jailed for life with a minimum term of 44 years for the murder on this very road. He started a fire in the doorway of the family's flat in the early hours of the morning on that day, snatching away three innocent lives.

The jury heard during his trial that their screams were heard in the five minutes after the fire was ignited. There was a pushchair visible through the letterbox of the upstairs flat, through which Barrow poured petrol he had siphoned from his motorbike in a bottle before setting it alight.

On Tuesday, May 14, Barrow's minimum term was reduced to 38 years after a hearing at the Court of Appeal. It means he will be eligible to be considered for release when he is 69 years old.

"It's disgusting," said the neighbour. "He doesn't deserve to be released."

Hayley Shaw, of Fairisle Close, Nottingham, on her garden in front of her bushes, with a t-shirt saying 'nope, not today' on, and 23 Fairisle Close in the background
Hayley Shlives in the shadow of 23 Fairisle Close. She says she thinks about what happened there 'every time she walks past'. -Credit:Nottingham Post

Fairisle Close, off Sumburgh Road in Clifton, is a large cul-de-sac. On the right are terraced three-bedroom homes and some two-bedroom bungalows, which run perpendicular to the road.

On the left are the flats. Their terraced style is the same as those across the road, but the buildings are split into separate one-bedroom properties, with their front doors facing not towards the road but towards a thin ginnel on the other side.

Those doors, for both the upstairs and downstairs flats, are on ground level - one flush with the back of the building, and one at a right angle to the side. The downstairs flats have both a front and back door, but those above have just one door, which serves as the only entrance and exit.

A man called Steve Davies lived at number 21, below. Fatoumatta Hydara's flat was number 23.

Barrow, who also lived on the row, walked through the heavy metal back gate to those two flats from the alley, and wearing latex gloves, calmly committed the atrocity which still looms large in the memories of those who remain here.

"I'm very wary now," says the same neighbour, pointing to her back gate. There are padlocks on it; she had them installed in the wake of the events.

"You can't be sure there aren't any more lunatics around, can you?" she adds.

Number 23 Fairisle Close is said to now be occupied again, after the harrowing events that occurred within its walls just 18 months ago.

"All of us have said we could never live there," says the neighbour. "Too many bad memories. It's eerie around here now."

Jamie Barrow's police custody picture
Jamie Barrow's police custody picture -Credit:PA

Many of the other flats on Fairisle Close appear unoccupied. Curtains are drawn to stop anyone from looking into front rooms.

Doorbells often don't work. There is no answer at 21 or 23, nor many of the others when tried.

The neighbour who does speak says many people have moved since the fire.

Outside one flat is a porcelain mug, almost empty, but with the cold remnants of a cup of tea stagnating at the bottom. Outside another is a toy car and a scooter, a copy of a Mr Happy from the Mr Men series, and some drawings in chalk on the wall - children still live here, just metres away.

Those who do answer the door say they still think about the incident on a regular basis. One, who also didn't want to be named, lives just doors away and knew Jamie Barrow's face.

"We were woken up by the flashing blue lights," she recalls. "It was frightening, knowing somebody had done that who you'd seen about."

For Hayley Shaw, who lives opposite, the deaths of the family hit even harder. She lost her sister in a house fire too.

"My partner came in, woke me up and told me the neighbour's house was on fire," said the 53-year-old. "I got up and was watching out of my window. I saw them on the road, saw police taking people into a van. It was scary.

"Everytime you walk past you remember it. It's just something you don't get over at all."