The man charged with the manslaughter of five year old Mari Connolly in a house fire in Boyle last October, will be sentenced at a sitting of Roscommon District Court next Tuesday.
John Lynch (33) from Boyle pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mari Connolly and to causing serious harm to her father Richard Connolly, and arson with intent to endanger life, at Termon Road Boyle on the 3rd of October 2011. He appeared at Roscommon Circuit Court on Tuesday.
The Court heard victim impact statements from the father of Mari Connolly - Richard Connolly, and her mother Teresa Keane.
Mr Connolly outlined the nature of his injuries sustained after he jumped from the house after trying to save Mari.
He suffered spinal injuries in the fall and he came into the court on crutches. He said that he was not sure if he would ever be able to walk unaided again. He also told the court that his other daughters Lauren and Naomi regularly wake at night with nightmares.
Mari Connolly’s mother Teresa Keane said that she would never accept an apology from anyone for the death of her little girl. She said that no apology would ever bring Mari back to her. Teresa Keane says that Mari’s sisters are also deeply scarred by the tragedy and will never get to know their sister.
The court heard that John Lynch lived with his girlfriend at Church View Boyle from time to time, and had admitted to setting fire to the house. He said that he did not know that Mr Connolly and his three daughters were in the house on the night and that he did not intend to hurt anyone.
Lynch had a dispute with Mr Connolly’s brother who also lived in the house on Termon Road. Mari Connolly and her two sisters were staying with their father that night as their mother was in hospital having given birth to twins.
The court also heard that Lynch had 17 previous convictions and had a history of violence. On the night of the fire he had been drinking and taking cocaine. Several people shouted abuse at Lynch as he was taken into the court.
Judge Tony Hunt said he wanted time to reflect before sentencing, as he wanted to consider all the information brought before the court. He remanded John Lynch in custody to appear for sentencing on Tuesday morning next at 10.30am.
Issue dated: 15 June 2012
© Roscommon People