News Irish News

Friday 23 August 2019

'In the blink of an eye we lost everything' - family of three killed in fire appeal for information

The house in Kilcock where Kerri Ann and Mary Ellen Byrne (pictured inset above with their mother Elizabeth) died with their aunt, Barbara Doyle (inset below), who was babysitting them in 1987
The house in Kilcock where Kerri Ann and Mary Ellen Byrne (pictured inset above with their mother Elizabeth) died with their aunt, Barbara Doyle (inset below), who was babysitting them in 1987
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

The family of three victims killed in a devastating house fire 30 years ago have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

On September 20, 1987, Barbara Doyle was babysitting her nieces, Mary Ellen (8) and Kerrie (5) at their home in Kikcock, Co Kildare.

A massive fire broke out at the home in the early hours of the morning which claimed the lives of all three.

In September of this year, the case was upgraded to murder – 30 years on.

Speaking on RTE’s Crimecall, the mother of Mary Ellen and Kerrie spoke about the devastating impact the fire has had on their whole family.

“They were brilliant babies, Mary Ellen being reserved and Kerrie being the ‘divil’, playing the tricks on the neighbours,” said Elizabeth Byrne.

“Mary Ellen used to say ‘Oh ma you’ll never guess what she’s after doing.”

Elizabeth recalled how it was just a normal Saturday night, the day her daughters died.

“We were getting ready to go out. I put Kerrie to bed and read her a story and she was asleep, and I got ready then, I came down and Barbara had arrived, and herself and Mary Ellen were sitting there.

“I went out to meet Aidan and we went to the party.”

Ms Byrne and her husband Aidan returned from the party around 3am to find their home in flames.

Sister of Barbara, Pamela O’Sullivan said she and the rest of the family rushed to the house after learning the devastating news.

“We just didn’t know where anyone was. We looked for them and couldn’t find them, then when the firemen got into the house, we were told they were here.

“I just remember them taking Mary Ellen, Kerrie and Barbara in three black bags.”

Ms Byrne said in a blink of an eye she lost everything.

“It’s just so hard to believe, that just in the blink of an eye that your whole life could be devastated. We lost everything,” she said.

 “You go through the years. And even now their friends are all getting married. So we missed out on all of that.”

Ms O'Sullivan said the family now want to find peace, 30 years on.

 “If the person responsible is watching, you’ve had 30 years walking around with this.

“I don’t know how anyone could walk around for 30 minutes with that on their conscience.

“They’ve had a life for the last 30 years. Barbara Mary Ellen and Kerrie haven’t. It’s time you came forward,” she said.

Detective inspector Paul Dolan said the investigation team still believes there is further information in the Kilcock community.

He urged anyone with information to come forward.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News