Galway woman denies setting fire to her own home
A WOMAN has denied setting fire to her own home.
Veronica McAnespie (45) pleaded not guilty at Galway Circuit Criminal Court to a charge of committing arson at 38 Tulach Ard, Circular Road, Galway, on November 28, 2007.
Prosecutor Conor Fahy said that gardai were alerted to the fire at Tulach Ard at about 5.10am. Two gardai went to the scene and spoke to fire officers.
They then drove around the area and came across a woman who gave her details as Veronica McAnespie from 38 Tulach Ard. She had a crutch and was in a distressed condition.
The jury would hear evidence that her hair, hands and clothes were black from smoke and that gardai got a strong smell of petrol from her, Mr Fahy said. She was also in possession of a number of large suitcases.
Ms McAnespie's next door neighbour, Anthony McDonagh, said he awoke between 4am and 5am and his house was covered in smoke.
He saw heavy black smoke coming from Ms McAnespie's house and banged on the door, but there was no answer.
He alerted neighbours and got a fire extinguisher from his own home, but it was no use.
Mr McDonagh told the court that he was serving a 12-year prison sentence for a shooting, but he had denied the offence and was appealing.
Under cross-examination, he denied having a bad relationship with Ms McAnespie.
Defence counsel Kieran O'Loughlin put it to him that his client had said that he (McDonagh) had burnt her house.
He replied: "Are you joking me? Why would I burn that house ... she's a liar".
Detective Garda John Lavery said he had interviewed Ms McAnespie and put it to her that she had burned her house. She denied it.
The court heard that when gardai examined the burnt house they found a five-litre can with petrol in it on the stairs and bottles with petrol and used matches in other rooms.
The trial continues.