Arsonist jailed for ten years for two attacks on family homes

by Gazette Reporter

A man who set fire to an apartment with three children inside has been jailed for ten years.

Ian O’Connor (29) of Emmet Crescent, Inchicore, threw a pipe bomb at another family home less than a month later, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

He pleaded guilty to arson at Tyrone Place, Inchicore on September 18, 2017. He also pleaded guilty to arson at Ailesbury Road, Dublin on October 15, 2017.

The court heard that in the first arson, the heat of the fire caused a hearing aid to melt in a seven-year-old’s ear, leaving her with a permanent scar.

Detective Inspector David Harrington told Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that on the date in September, Margaret Green was asleep in her apartment along with her three children and woke to find the stairs on fire.

O’Connor admitted to starting the fire by pouring petrol in the letterbox and on the front door.

He said he owed money to certain persons who had instructed him to light the fire and had told him that there would be no one in the house.

Inspector Harrington agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that O’Connor believed that had he not lit the fire, then his family would have been pipe-bombed.

O’Connor was given a bag of cocaine beforehand, but said he did not do it for the drugs.

Detective Garda Shane Cahill told Mr McGillicuddy that in the second attack, William Godson woke to find flames outside the kitchen window of the home of his parents and two younger siblings. He grabbed bottles of water and used them to douse the fire.

O’Connor told gardai that he got an offer of €2,000 to put a petrol bomb through a window and was told that there was no one in the house, but he had not been paid as it had not worked.

He said he had brought two petrol bombs to the house but had only thrown one.

Judge Melanie Greally sentenced O’Connor to 12 years’ imprisonment for the first arson, but suspended the final two years on condition that he keep the peace and engage with the Probation Service for two years on his release.

Judge Greally also sentenced him to six years’ imprisonment for the later arson, to run concurrently with the other sentence.

She backdated all sentences to the day O’Connor went into custody, March 9, 2018.

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