Arsonist pleads guilty to fraudulent insurance claim

A 47-year-old man, who denied arson causing €200,000 to his own business but was found guilty by a jury, pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge of making a fraudulent insurance claim afterwards.

Arsonist pleads guilty to fraudulent insurance claim

David Healy, of Tig na Mona, Rathankar, Passage West, Co Cork, denied a charge of arson at Munster Air Compressors — a company of which he was a director — at Kilbarry Cottages, Dublin Hill, Cork, on December 16, 2014.

A jury of 11 was unanimous in the guilty verdict returned after approximately two hours of deliberation last month. Healy was remanded in custody for sentencing yesterday.

When he appeared before Judge Gerard O’Brien, Elizabeth O’Connell, defending, asked for Healy to be re-arraigned on the charge of attempted deception by attempting to obtain a payment from FBD Insurance the following month, on January 8, 2015. Healy confessed to that crime, for the first time, yesterday.

Judge O’Brien said due to complexity of the case and the separate sentencing required on each charge, he would require time to deliver his judgment. He remanded Healy in custody for sentencing on July 16.

After the jury verdict on the arson charge, Judge O’Brien said: “Arson is viewed by the legislature as one of the most serious crimes. The fact that he has put people in danger with the setting of a fire is a serious offence and it has to be marked.”

Detective Garda John Gleeson said it was estimated the fire would have taken one to two hours to physically lay out the scene in the interconnected industrial units to cause the damage. There were six seats of fire over the two floors and they included the placing of wooden pallets over a machine and bags of shredded paper.

When interviewed, Healy claimed he was at home at the relevant time. However, his car was seen on CCTV in the area.

Ms O’Connell said FBD did not pay out money on foot of the claim. She said that as the owner of the equipment in the building, the defendant was the one at a loss. She said his father owned the building and he was at a further loss as a result of the defendant’s actions.

Ms O’Connell said that not only would Healy bear this loss but she said the impact on him in his standing in the business community and socially was devastating.

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