Girl (11) burned in petrol bomb attack, court told
An 11-year-old girl was set ablaze and suffered horrific burns when four men broke into a relative's home and threw a petrol bomb.
Michaela Maughan was visiting the house in Longford town with her brother and grandmother when the terrifying attack took place at midnight.
Longford Circuit Criminal Court was told that the three visitors and the family who lived at the house at Pauric Colum Heights in Longford were entirely innocent victims.
Judge Tony Hunt was yesterday advised by prosecuting counsel, Denis Vaughan Buckley, that Martin Nevin (23), unemployed and originally from Springlawn, Longford had pleaded guilty in March to a charge of damaging the property of Ann Joyce at Pauric Colum Heights, Longford on September 30, 2010, intending to damage it and endangering the life of Michaela Maughan.
Inspector Padraic Jones said that Ann Joyce was at her home with members of her family late on September 30. Three generations of the family were present in the house, including Michaela and her grandmother.
Just before midnight, four men wearing hoodies and carrying a baseball bat approached the house. One of them broke a panel of glass and opened the front door. Statements from those present indicated that one of the men had a slash-hook, while two others had bottles with rags sticking out and carrying lighters.
Some of those present heard shouts of 'dirty, hairy Joyces, bastards', "we've got you now' and 'go on, Ba(b)y Boy – do it". Inspector Jones said that he knew Baby Boy or Bay Boy was a nickname for the accused.
One of the petrol bombs was lit and thrown into the kitchen where Michaela was sitting on a couch. The child was immediately set on fire.
Her mother, Marie Ann Maughan, told the court that her daughter had suffered horrendous injuries and was deeply affected by what had happened to her. She required plastic surgery and was left with facial, arm, shoulder and chest scarring.
She now had a bald patch on her head after her hair caught fire and she had lost part of her left ear.
Michaela has since been under the care of a senior psychologist, seeing her every week. Mrs Maughan said that, in her entire career, the psychologist had never seen a child with such severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"It's a living hell on earth for a child, for this to be done to her – it's for the rest of her life", an emotional Mrs Maughan said.
"When the child was on fire she screamed for her Mammy – how can anyone live with that?"
The court was told that Martin Nevin "had appeared to indicate" that he would make a statement about another individual who was present on the night.
Judge Hunt remanded Mr Nevin in custody and adjourned the case with a view to hearing about any statement that may be made by the accused.