Saturday 17 August 2019

Thirteen years in jail for killer of girl (5)


THE KILLER of five-year-old Mari Keane Connolly has been jailed for 13 years. Thirty-three-year-old John Lynch, from Sligo, was in 'an innately violent and angry disposition' when he set fire to a house in which the child died in Boyle on October 3, 2011, said Judge Anthony Hunt at sentencing in Roscommon yesterday.

He said little Mari had not died in her sleep and it was inevitable she was conscious and aware and the depths of her terror in her final moments defied imagination. THE 33-YEAR- OLD Sligoman who killed five-year-old Mari Keane- Connolly and seriously injured her father, Richard, has been sentenced to 13 years in jail.

Imposing sentence at Roscommon Circuit Court yesterday, Tuesday, Judge Anthony Hunt, said the case must lie near the top of the manslaughter scale, if not at the top and he spoke of 'the horror' of the final moments of little Mari, whose mother Teresa comes from Culfadda.

The Judge said it was clear that Mari died not in circumstances where she was asleep in her bed, but she was conscious and aware, and the depths of her terror in her final moments defied imagination.

Lynch, originally from Cranmore, Sligo had taken drink and cocaine and was in "an innately violent and angry disposition" and had he stopped to think for one moment about his actions the consequences ought to have been clear to him, said the judge.

Lynch was sentenced to 13 years for the manslaughter of little Mari, while two eight year sentences were imposed for arson and for assault causing serious harm to Mari's father Richard, who was injured when he fell from the roof of the burning house at Tarmon Road in Boyle last October.

The Judge said Lynch had "a festering and lingering sense of grievence" against Richard Connolly's brother, who Lynch had found on a bed with Anita O'Hara, with whom he had a relationship.

There had been an altercation in a nightclub in Carrick-onShannon between Lynch and John Connolly.

A previous incident had been resusicated and one word borrowed another, said the Judge.

When O'Hara returned to her house she was seriously assaulted by Lynch who then left and sometime afterwards she got a call from him in which he said: 'Now, you ****, the Connolly house is burning. The rats in Tarmon have no place to live.'

Judge Hunt said this would give the lie that Lynch didn't think the house was occupied when he set it on fire.

Lynch's sole intention was to get back at John Connolly and to harm him. One of the ironies was that John Connolly was not there.

The result of Lynch's actions was that a five-year-old child lost her life and her father was permanently physically injured.

The entire family suffered because of the loss of a sister and a daughter. It was also true to say that the loss of a child altered any family permanently.

This was the needless loss of a child and it was particularly sad as her mother had given birth to twins 24 hours earlier. What should have been a happy occasion was marred and a memory destroyed as she would never be able to look the twins in the eye without remembering her lost sister.