Tuesday 23 May 2017

Young woman (28) allegedly started fatal fire at apartment complex in which two men died

Rachel Crawshaw pictured at Mallow District court in relation to an suspected arson attack in which two men died in north Cork.
Pic Cork Courts Ltd
Rachel Crawshaw pictured at Mallow District court in relation to an suspected arson attack in which two men died in north Cork. Pic Cork Courts Ltd
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A young woman was charged with manslaughter and arson over a fire at an apartment complex in which two men died.

Rachel Crawshaw (28) was charged with two counts of manslaughter and one count of arson arising from a fatal fire at a St Joseph's Road apartment complex in Mallow, Co Cork two years ago.

The fire, which was detected shortly before 4am on March 13, resulted in the death of friends Greg Lonergan (36) and John Palmer (37).

Two others, including the defendant, were rescued by Gardai and Mallow Fire Brigade officials.

Judge Brian Sheridan heard evidence of arrest, caution and charge from Det Sergeant Michael Corbett.

Det Sgt Corbett said Crawshaw was arrested at 7.20pm on Monday evening at Cork Airport on foot of a district court warrant.

She was taken to Mallow Garda Station where she was formally charged.

The court was told that, after caution, Crawshaw made no reply to gardai.

She is charged with two counts of unlawful killing relating to Mr Lonergan and Mr Palmer between March 12-13 2014 at Granary Court apartments in Mallow.

The charges are brought contrary to common law.

She is also charged with one count of arson, contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Damage Act, 1991, at the same place and date.

 Inspector Tony O'Sullivan said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has instructed that the matter be dealt with on indictment before the Circuit Criminal Court.

He said there was no bail application at the current time and said gardai would require time to prepare and serve the book of evidence.

Judge Sheridan remanded Crawshaw of No Fixed Abode in custody to appear again before Mallow District Court on March 1 next.

 Crawshaw, who appeared in court wearing black leggings and a black top, did not speak during the brief hearing.

 Mr Lonergan had lived at a number of addresses in both Cork city and county while Mr Palmer was originally from Tymon North in Tallaght, Dublin.

 Gardai and Mallow Fire Brigade managed to rescue a number of people from the area in the minutes after the blaze was first detected on March 13 2014.

 However, the fire spread with such speed that officers were unable to gain access for a time through smoke-filled hallways and rooms to a rented upper floor apartment.

 When officers with breathing apparatus managed to get into rooms in that apartment, they discovered the two men.

 Both died despite desperate attempts to revive them at the scene.

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