Tuesday 17 July 2018

'There was a bang and he was gone, it never leaves me' - son of man (81) who died in alleged arson attack

Michael Crowe died during a fire at his home in 2009
Michael Crowe died during a fire at his home in 2009
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

The heartbroken son of a pensioner who died in an alleged arson attack has appealed for information about what happened, saying, "this will not leave us."

Michael Crowe (81) died on October 4 2009 during a fire in his home in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

Since the incident, gardai have taken nearly 700 statements and carried out hundreds of separate lines of inquiry.

His son Tomás has spoken publicly for the first time since his death, asking anyone with information to come forward.

The scene of the fatal fire at Pairc Mhuire, Newbridge, Co Kildare
The scene of the fatal fire at Pairc Mhuire, Newbridge, Co Kildare

Speaking on Crimecall on RTE One, he said of that night: "There was an almighty bang, I rushed out from the back bedroom, I think I had gotten as far as the first step when this power that came up the stairs was incredible.

"These flames came up the stairs, he was there, then there was a bang and he was gone - it never leaves me, it has changed my life completely.

"What we try to do is just get on with our lives as best as we can but this hangs over us, this will not leave us."

Tomás and his mother Betty- who has since passed away - survived the blaze but tragically Michael did not.

He said that his father did not deserve to die that way and said his devastated family just want answers.

Tomás said: "My father is an innocent man, our family is an innocent family. We’ve done nothing wrong to you or anyone.

"Surely you must see that. You have to do the right thing."

Read More: Arson probe by gardai after man (81) dies in house fire

Michael's granddaughter Pamela said that his death has robbed their family of precious experiences.

She said: "I have a child now and he would have been a great-grandfather. He would have loved her."

Tomás has said his father's death will never leave him
Tomás has said his father's death will never leave him

Michael's death took a toll on his widow Betty and it was responsible for her death too, his brother Tom has said.

Tom, who worked with Michael for over 40 years in Bord na Mona, explained:  "Betty was never right after it. I still believe the fire killed Betty."

Tom has urged anyone with any information about that night to contact the guards.

He said: "I’d love to say to anyone that has any information on what developed that night to come forward to the Gardaí. It would mean a great lot to our family."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crimecall on 1800 40 50 60 or Newbridge Garda Station on (045) 440180.

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