Thursday 22 March 2018

Woman (26) charged with arson at pensioner's home

Ollie and Eva Berrill
Ollie and Eva Berrill
Nicola Kavanagh (26), centre, from Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, waits to leave Trim District Court
Nicola Kavanagh (26), from Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, is led from Trim District Court with a coat over her head

Elaine Keogh

A YOUNG woman has been remanded in custody after being charged with arson in relation to a house fire in Drogheda.

Nicola Kavanagh (26), with an address as Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, is accused of arson damage at 94 Chord Road, Drogheda, belonging to Oliver and Eva Berrill.

Ms Berrill (70), who is disabled, had to be rescued from the burning house by a passer-by.

The frail mother-of-two was rushed to the hospital where she was placed in an induced coma to repair the damage to her lungs due to smoke inhalation.

At a vacation sitting of Trim district court yesterday (Tuesday), detective garda Brian Kearins gave evidence of the arrest charge and caution of Ms Kavanagh.

The offence is alleged to have occurred on August 16 and is contrary to section 2 of the Criminal Damage Act 1991.

Det Gda Kearins said he arrested Ms Kavanagh at 6.13pm on Monday at Drogheda garda station and charged her at 6.30pm.

She made no reply to the charge, he told the court.

Garda Superintendent Mary Gormley from Trim said the accused could be remanded in custody by consent.

The defence solicitor agreed and asked the court to direct the accused receive appropriate medical attention while in custody.

Legal aid was applied for and granted by Judge James Faughnan.

Kavanagh was remanded in custody to the Dochas centre and will appear again at the vacation sitting of Dundalk District Court later this month.

The man who rescued Ms Berrill also suffered injuries and has been hailed as a hero.

Colin Carter (34) has been praised by Drogheda's mayor and residents after running into the smoke-filled terrace house to save the pensioner.

Ms Berrill was sleeping alone when the fire started.

Mr Carter was coming out of a pub across the road and risked his own life to enter the building, suffering serious burns to his neck and back in the process.

"I'm suffering. I'm in a lot of agony," he told the Irish Independent.

Three men, two in their 30s and one in his 40s, have been questioned by gardai about the suspected arson but were released without charge.

Irish Independent

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