Sunday 25 February 2018

Man tried to set fire to home on Halloween while girl (4) slept upstairs

Conor Gallagher and Jessica Magee

A DUBLIN man has admitted trying to set fire to his rented flat on Halloween night by igniting aerosol cans, despite the fact that a four-year-old relative was sleeping in one of the bedrooms.

Father-of-three Peter Doyle (47) pleaded guilty to five charges including arson at an apartment on Slieve Bloom Road in Drimnagh sometime between October 31 and November 1, 2011.

Doyle, who still lives in the apartment, also pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to criminal damage, producing a lit aerosol, possession of heroin and assaulting two gardaí by throwing boiling water at them.

Garda Nathan Foley said Doyle had been out trick-or-treating with the four-year-old girl on Halloween night when a disagreement occurred with a neighbour.

Gda Foley told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that gardaí were alerted and heard loud bangs coming from inside the house.

The front door was locked, and knowing there was a child in the house, two gardaí tried to communicate with Doyle from outside the house.

The gardaí then saw a glass panel being broken in the front door and flames coming from a lit aerosol canister.

They broke down the door and found the apartment filled with smoke.

Doyle emerged from the kitchen with a kettle in his hand with steam rising from it and flung the contents at the two gardaí.

The boiling water only managed to catch the top of the guards' heads as they were carrying riot shields.

The gardaí extinguished two fires, one in the living room and one in a bedroom.

A girl was found asleep under bedclothes in another bedroom.

Heroin was found under a mattress and in an ornamental ashtray under the TV. Doyle said the drugs were for his own use.

The damage to the glass panel in the door was estimated at €250.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said Doyle told gardaí in interview that he had “lost his head” after the fall out with the neighbour.

He said Doyle had won €1,000 in a prize the previous day and had spent it on heroin. Doyle told gardaí he had not yet used any heroin on the night in question, but had drunk alcohol.

Mr Rea said that when his client realised that he had exposed his young relative to the dangers of fire, he took “huge steps” to change his life.

“It acted as a wake-up call,” he said.

The court heard that Doyle is no longer abusing heroin and is on prescribed methadone.

He is attending courses in adult literacy, computers and maths at the Addiction Response Crumlin Project.

Doyle has six previous convictions including road traffic offences, theft and possession of drugs.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring adjourned the matter to November 12 next.

Online Editors

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