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Artist burnt to death in horror house blaze

THE body of a gifted artist -- burnt beyond recognition in a house fire -- could only be identified through fingerprint analysis, his inquest heard today.

Father-of-one John Hoey (47) died from his injuries at the derelict house on Ulverton Road, Dalkey, on August 11, 2010.

Garda Terence Toal, of the Garda Technical Bureau, informed the hearing he was able to identify the victim as Mr Hoey through analysis of a piece of skin from his left-hand.


Another officer, Charlie Dempsey, from Dalkey Garda Station, said there was nothing suspicious about the blaze.

The inquest heard the fire most likely started as a result of burning candles, or through a lit cigarette that Mr Hoey was smoking.

Reading from a report prepared by the deputy State pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, coroner Brian Farrell said Mr Hoey died from severe burns and smoke inhalation.

He said there was no evidence of assault.

The inquest heard that Mr Hoey, who had an alcohol problem, had been squatting in the house, Yonder, at Ulverton Road, for two and a half weeks before his death. A witness, Robert Terry, gave evidence that he left candles with Mr Hoey on the day in question.

Mr Terry had been passing the property and got talking to Mr Hoey.

He said he was in the house for a maximum of half an hour before he left again.

When he was leaving, Mr Hoey was lying back, having a smoke, and appeared to be drowsy after taking sedatives.

Mr Terry did not know the victim prior to meeting him at the front gate of the house.

He said he told Mr Hoey to be careful with the candles, before exiting the property.

John's sister, Elizabeth, told the inquest that her brother had been homeless since he lost his apartment in Monkstown a year before his death.

Dr Farrell recorded a verdict of accidental death, with the candles as risk factors.

At his funeral, in St Joseph's Church, Glasthule, John's son, Jamie, had said that he was very proud of his father.

"Very few people live exactly the way they want to do it, but he did," said Jamie, adding that sometimes it was a good thing and sometimes it was a bad thing.

"Dad was a difficult man. I love him so much and I will always be proud of him. He was a brilliant man and words can't explain him," he added.