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Wednesday 20 November 2019

'I didn't think it would go on fire', says woman who set blaze under man's car

Georgina McKenna
Georgina McKenna

A woman who set fire to a man's car by placing lit newspapers underneath it in an act of revenge didn't realise the car would go up in flames as she thought she had to use petrol to ignite it.

Georgina McKenna also caused €2,000 of damage to a second car which also caught fire as a result of her actions.

The 51-year-old claimed she only placed the lit newspapers underneath the man's car to "frighten him" as she claimed he threatened her.

She believed the man would see the newspapers alight underneath his car before the fire took hold as he had been coming in and out of a house near where his car was parked at the time.

She also believed petrol was necessary in order for it to go up in flames.

McKenna, of Beechwood Drive in Drogheda, Co Louth, pleaded guilty at Drogheda District Court to arson at Beechwood Drive on July 7, 2018.

She had previously been given the benefit of an adult caution, the court heard.

The court heard that on the night the defendant was drinking alcohol and became involved in an argument with a man at 11.30pm.

Embarrassed

She returned to her house and the man went into a nearby property.

The defendant then went back outside and placed newspapers which she subsequently set alight underneath the man's car.

This car caught fire and the fire spread to a second vehicle parked beside it.

A total of €2,000 in damage was caused to an innocent person's car while the owner of the other car did not want to make a complaint to gardai.

Defence barrister Irene Sands said the defendant was "very embarrassed and has indicated she wants to apologise openly and publicly".

"She has already made amends with those involved," said Ms Sands.

Explaining the reason behind the arson attack, Ms Sands said the defendant claimed the man had made a threat to her and she had phoned gardai.

"She wanted to frighten the man and lit the newspapers but she never foresaw it would cause damage to the car," she added.

When asked by a judge what the defendant foresaw in the incident, the defendant replied: "I thought I would have had to pour petrol on the car for it to go on fire."

The defendant claimed that the man was going "in and out of the house" and she thought he would have seen the newspapers on fire underneath his car before the car went up in flames. The owner of the other car had been compensated, the court heard.

Judge Dermot Dempsey previously ordered a probation report to see if the defendant was suitable for community service work in lieu of a prison sentence.

After a positive report was handed into court, Judge Eirinn McKiernan imposed the order of 200 hours of community service work in lieu of three months in prison.

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