Hunt for psycho who set fire to woman's house
FEAR: He wanted to murder us, says mum
A MANHUNT is under way for a psycho arsonist who burnt down a family’s home.
The 34-year-old mum and her little daughter Nadine (7) were miraculously not at their north Dublin home when the crazed arsonist struck.
In an exclusive interview with the Herald, Martina Ward revealed: "I know who did this – he is just pure evil.
"I could have died, my child could have died. It was only by pure chance that we were not there," she said. "I have lived in that house all my life and now it is completely destroyed. I am homeless now – I have been left with nothing. All our clothes and money were burned in the fire. I really don't know where to turn.
"The Christmas presents that I got for Nadine were destroyed -- we are totally heartbroken."
Sources say that after he set fire to the house in Kilbarrack with petrol, the suspect rang the mobile phone of a male relative of Martina Ward and taunted him.
However, this phone conversation was recorded by the relative and gardai now have possession of the phone.
"The man that did this is a madman -- I know he wanted to murder my daughter and me. He thought we were in that house -- if we were we would be dead now.
"I am praying that the gardai take this man off the streets -- I know what he is capable of."
The Herald has learnt that the chief suspect for the arson attack is a sick sexual predator who has a "grudge" against innocent Martina -- who has no involvement in crime.
"He knows her very well and he had been threatening her. Martina is very lucky that she and the child were staying with her friend in Balbriggan when he set fire to her house," explained a source.
"If they were in the house at the time, we could easily be dealing with a double murder here," the source added.
The violent suspect -- who is originally from the Coolock area -- has been based in Co Kerry in recent times, where he has been living with a male relative who is also a convicted sex offender.
Four units of Dublin Fire Brigade fought the flames which totally destroyed the front door and hall area of the house.
Scorch and smoke marks that rise all the way to the roof of the house showed how high the flames had been at the height of the blaze.
Gardai sealed off the scene yesterday pending a forensic examination by members of the Garda Technical Bureau.
The arson suspect is a notorious sex offender and chronic alcoholic who served a number of jail sentences. In the 1990s he was given a lengthy sentence for abducting and brutally assaulting a Dublin man.
The assault lasted for an hour and during it the arson suspect forced his victim to strip and at one stage pressed a lit cigarette into his neck.
Sources say that the arson suspect has been making threats against members of the Traveller community over the past number of months and because of this, there is now a threat against his life.
"If he thought that he was in bother before -- he is in serious trouble now because of what he did in Kilbarrack yesterday morning," a source explained.
Gardai are also investigating reports that the criminal doused the door of a neighbouring house in petrol but failed to light a fire because he was spotted.
He is also suspected of targeting another house in the Coolock area early yesterday morning. It is understood that the suspect is hiding out in north Dublin this weekend.