herald

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Arson attack that killed man (81) was 'mistaken identity'

Michael Crowe died in a fire
Michael Crowe died in a fire

Detectives investigating the murder of an 81-year-old man who died in an arson attack 10 years ago believe he was the victim of mistaken identity.

Earlier this month, gardai renewed their appeal for information about the murder of Michael Crowe at his home in Pairc Mhuire, Newbridge, Co Kildare, on October 4, 2009.

There have been no arrests, and gardai have been unable to establish a motive for the fatal early morning attack at the home of the Crowe family.

Bricks

Mr Crowe died after petrol was thrown through the living room window of his home and ignited.

Gardai believe the attack is linked to an earlier incident, at around 2.30am on the same morning, when gardai were called to the house after two bricks were thrown through the front window.

Hours later, petrol was thrown through the same window and set alight, causing extensive damage.

After neighbours raised the alarm, the emergency services were called and Mr Crowe, his wife Betty and their son Tomas were hospitalised.

Mr Crowe died later from smoke inhalation and burns injuries. His wife and son survived despite serious injuries.

A senior detective who has been investigating the case for years told the Herald: "Betty died in February 2011, and it's fair to say she never got over the events of that morning.

"Tomas is still completely distraught about this, and the family are desperate for answers to get some kind of closure.

"They're very decent people. There was no reason why that house was targeted, which means gardai believe the wrong house was targeted.

"What happened was a terr-ible tragedy and a terrible crime."

Hoodies

Detectives have not identified any house or other family in the area who may have been the actual targets of the attack.

They have not been able to progress any solid leads, but are appealing for information about three men who were seen in the Pairc Mhuire area at around the time of the first incident when the bricks were thrown through the window.

"We had a couple of witnesses who saw three men aged in their 20s and 30s and dressed in hoodies and jeans in the area at around 2.30am," the senior detective said.

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