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Arson accused is remanded as
rescued OAP remains in coma

A 26-YEAR-old woman has been remanded in custody after being charged with arson in relation to a house fire in Drogheda.

Nicola Kavanagh, of Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, is accused of arson damage at 94 Chord Road, Drogheda, belonging to Oliver and Eva Berrill.

Mrs Berrill, who is in her 70s, was rescued from her burning house.

She was taken to St James's Hospital where Mr Berrill has been keeping a bedside vigil.

The offence is alleged to have occurred on Saturday.

At a sitting of Trim District Court yesterday, Det Gda Brian Kearins gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution.

He 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.

Supt Mary Gormley said the accused could be remanded in custody by consent.

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

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

Ms Kavanagh was remanded in custody to a special sitting of Dundalk district court tomorrow.

It is understood that Ms Berrill, a frail mother of two who suffered a stroke several years ago, is in an induced coma having suffered damage to her lungs from smoke inhalation.

Colin Carter (34) was hailed a hero after running into the smoke-filled terraced house to rescue the pensioner.

Mrs Berrill was sleeping alone early on Saturday morning when the fire started.

Mr Berrill was in the pub across the road when a passer-by ran in to alert him and other customers.

Mr Carter was also there and ran over to the house.

Mr Berrill managed to get the front door open, but it was Mr Carter who forced his way through the flames to drag Mrs Berrill out.

Mr Carter, who risked his life in entering the building, suffered serious burns to his neck and back.

"I'm suffering. I'm in a lot of agony," he said.

Despite his own injuries, he said his first thoughts were for Mrs Berrill.

"I appreciate that everyone is saying I'm a hero, but at the end of the day I just hope the lady pulls through," he said.