Blaze inquest adjourned due to Garda probe

INQUESTS into the deaths of a 25-year-old woman and her five-year-old nephew in a suspicious house fire in April were opened and adjourned at Cork Coroner’s Court due to an ongoing Garda investigation.

Helena O’Dwyer and Ryan O’Dwyer-Hayes were staying in Helena’s parents’ home in Mahon, when a blaze started just after 3am on Easter Sunday.

Helena and Ryan were among six people staying at the house on Nutley Avenue when the fire took hold.

Neighbours rushed to help and four people escaped the inferno.

However, Helena and Ryan, who were sleeping in upstairs bedrooms, died in the blaze, which gutted the house.

Yesterday at the coroner’s court, Gardaí told coroner Dr Myra Cullinane a file was being prepared for the DPP, who could consider whether or not criminal charges would be brought.

The case was adjourned for six months, when the coroner asked gardaí to return to court to advise how the file was progressing.

The cause of death of both Helena and her nephew Ryan were read as evidence and cited as “death in a fire due to inhalation of smoke and fire gases”.

Gardaí gave evidence of how the bodies were identified, and Dr Cullinane told the family members present that they were free to collect death certificates.

No further evidence could be heard until any criminal proceedings which might be initiated have taken place, she said.

It had been thought that the fire was the result of a petrol bomb attack on the house. However, just last month, the O’Dwyer family were told that forensic tests yielded no proof that a petrol bomb was responsible.

Following the tragedy in April, there was an immense outpouring of grief and support to help Helena and Ryan’s grieving families.

A special bank account was set up and more than €9,000 was donated and used to cover funeral expenses.

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