A 33 year-old man who had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of five year-old Mari Connolly on October 3rd 2011 is this week beginning a 13 year prison term handed down to him at Roscommon Circuit Court on Tuesday.
He also received two eight years terms that will run concurrently for arson with intent to cause harm and assault causing harm to Richard Connolly, the girlís father.
Sligo native John Lynch, who had been living at Church View in Boyle at the time, had been involved in a dispute with the girlís uncle.
Lynch had seventeen previous convictions and a history of violence.
The court had previously heard he had gone to the house at Termon Road in Boyle in the early hours of October 3rd.
Lynch would later claim he didnít know the five year old, her father and two sisters were asleep upstairs, when he set fire to the house.
Five year-old Mari Connolly died in the blaze, while her father Richard was seriously injured as he attempted to rescue his three daughters, falling on a concrete stairs before damaging his back. Today he uses a walking stick.
Richard Connolly managed to get all three out but unknown to him his youngest daughter returned to the house before being overcome by smoke inhalation.
Judge Tony Hunt told the court that in all of his years on the bench across the country he had not witnessed circumstances that had arisen in this case.
He said he was not in a position to impose the maximum sentence or an 18-year sentence due to the mitigating circumstances in the case and noted Lynchís guilty plea and his expression of remorse.
Issue dated: 22 June 2012
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