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Arson suspect to be re-arrested as Mari laid to rest

Gardai are ready to re-arrest the chief suspect for an arson attack that caused the tragic murder of a five-year-old girl.

Sources have revealed that the investigation team has received "key new information" which has led to officers being confident that the gangland criminal responsible for the fire in Boyle, Co Roscommon, last week will be charged with a serious criminal offence.

As tragic little Mari Connolly was laid to rest today it also emerged that petrol was used to start the devastating blaze.

The 33-year-old suspect was arrested last Wednesday afternoon but released without charge on Thursday night.

At around the same time that he was released, a woman aged 30 and known to him was arrested but she was released without charge on Sunday.



angels

Mari's family and friends gathered in Boyle last night to wake the five-year-old.

A death notice describes her as the "darling daughter" of Teresa and Richard.

Her remains were due to be taken from her mother's home in the town at 11am today for Funeral Mass at St Joseph's Church of the Angels.

The arson attack happened after the chief suspect suspected that his partner was having an affair with another man.

But nobody living in the house was involved in the love affair claims.

In the lead-up to the fire at the house in Termon Road, Boyle, the suspect was involved in at least two vicious assaults on this woman.

He is a feared criminal who is a key member of a major Sligo based criminal gang.

The Herald has previously revealed that this criminal is the chief suspect in the gangland murder of Sligo criminal Sam Smith (23) who was shot dead in December, 2005.

The arson suspect was also a very close associate of notorious Sligo criminal David Lynch (39) who was murdered in January, 2008.

The suspect has convictions for serious crimes.

It is understood that he has been under surveillance since being released from garda custody last night with officers having major fears that he may flee the country.

"This individual is involved in one of Ireland's biggest drug gangs and they have strong connections to Scotland so it is a major fear that he will just take off," explained a source.

hnews@herald.ie