Woman confesses to two manslaughters in Mallow arson attack

Rachel Crawshaw pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson.

A 28-year-old woman confessed yesterday to the manslaughter of two men who died in a house fire in Mallow in north Cork almost two years ago, and she also pleaded guilty to arson.

Rachel Crawshaw appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, charged with the unlawful killing of John Palmer, 37, and Greg Lonergan,36, at Granary Court, St Joseph’s Road, Mallow, between March 12 and March 13, 2014.

Crawshaw was also charged with committing arson at Granary Court, St Joseph’s Road, Mallow, contrary to the Criminal Damage Act 1991 on the same occasion.

She was arraigned at the opening day of the county sessions of Cork Circuit Criminal Court where she pleaded guilty to all three charges.

Tom Creed, senior counsel said: “I am asking for adjournment of sentencing to the next sessions for a probation report.”

The prosecution also needed time for victim impact reports to be prepared by the families of the deceased. While no background details were given to the crimes yesterday, nor indeed to the defendant’s personal circumstances, Mr Creed SC did say: “This lady has had a difficulty with drugs.”

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin adjourned sentencing until June 9 to allow time for the probation and victim impact reports. Det Sgt Michael Corbett previously gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution at Mallow District Court, and said that he arrested Crawshaw at Cork Airport on February 22, 2016.

Det Sgt Corbett told the court Crawshaw was of no fixed abode. There was an objection to bail being granted to her at the district court, and she was brought from custody to Cork Circuit Criminal Court for yesterday’s arraignment. She was further remanded in custody for sentencing in June.


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