A mother and child escaped through the back window of their home when a wheelie bin was set on fire beside their front door, it was claimed yesterday.
Detective Garda Pat Barry arrested Lee Cronin, aged 19, of 6 Mount St Joseph’s Close, Bakers Rd, Gurranbraher, Cork, and charged him with arson. The teenager applied to be released on bail.
Judge Olann Kelleher said: “This man is only 19. Obviously I am very conscious of that. But it is a very serious incident alleged in November. I remand him in custody to January 29.”
Mr Cronin said in his bail application: “I don’t do much damage and I don’t want to do any more.”
Inspector Ronan Kennelly put it to Mr Cronin that the State had a fear he would do more damage or get someone else to do it, and that his intention to do no harm might change if he got angry or went drinking.
Mr Cronin replied: “I won’t go near them at all. Like I said, I don’t do much damage, I want it all to stop.”
Det Garda Barry said it was alleged that Mr Cronin went to Mount St Joseph’s Drive in Gurranabraher and set the fire.
“It is alleged a woman was at home with her child,” said Det Garda Barry. “She woke to smoke coming from the front of her house. She escaped out the back window of the house with her child. It is alleged Mr Cronin was present outside the house and had started the fire.
“We believe there is a possibility he would interfere with witnesses. He sent messages by Facebook and social media threatening a relative.
“They are very worrying messages. We are concerned about the mental stability of the accused. I would have grave concerns. It is alleged he called to the house, got a wheelie bin, and set fire to it at the front door.
“He admits he had consumed alcohol on the night and had consumed alcohol at the time he sent the social media messages.”
Defence solicitor Eddie Burke said: “It goes back to November 4 2017. And there is no history of interfering with witnesses in the past.”
Mr Burke suggested what resulted in alleged social media activity was the fact that Mr Cronin had been the victim of an assault on Friday night.
Det Garda Barry said: “I am aware he was assaulted on Friday but he does not wish to make a complaint.”
Mr Burke said: “He co- operated fully and admitted his part. Anything on Facebook was just a reaction to what happened to him on Friday night. He apologised for the threats and does not intend to get into any further trouble.”
The defendant’s mother, Carol Cronin, said: “He was the subject of an assault on Friday night. Prison is not the answer for him. He is very welcome at home.”
The charge against Mr Cronin states that, on November 4, 2017, at a house at Mount St. Joseph’s Drive, he committed arson, damaging by fire a wheelie bin, front PVC door, facia, and soffit of the house.
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