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You left this world an angel -- mother of blaze girl Mari

The mum of a little girl who died in a shocking house fire has spoken of the last moments she spent with her precious daughter.

Teresa Kane was in hospital after giving birth to twins when little Mari (5) died in a suspected arson attack at her father Richard Connolly's home on Monday.

"Our little angel, you came into this world on 9th of January 2006 and left us on 3rd of October 2011," Teresa wrote in a moving tribute to her daughter.

"Me and your daddy loved you from the moment you took your first breath and will always love you.

"Your sisters Lauren, Niomi, Caitlin, and Ashleigh loved you to pieces.

"Layla and Ava (the twins born on Saturday) will always know who you were and how you only came to see them on Sunday morning with your daddy and sisters.

"Our hearts are ripped to pieces and I will never understand why God had to take you but he was missing an angel and you are the most perfect angel. You were born one and left this world one."

Mr Connolly managed to rescue Mari's two sisters, Lauren (8) and Niomi (6) from the blaze by jumping from an upstairs window.

However he was seriously injured in the process and could not save little Mari.

The heroic dad, who is a native of Boyle, is being treated in Dublin's Mater Hospital for severe spinal injuries. He also suffered a punctured lung and ruptured his spleen.

Mari's grandfather, Richard Connolly Snr, revealed that the family were concerned that Richard (27) may be paralysed. He told the Herald that his son could not "feel anything" after his operation on Monday.

He said: "Richard was asleep in the back bedroom with the three girls, that was their room.

"When the fire broke out he jumped out the back bedroom window with two of the girls, he couldn't get them all out."

It is understood Mari will not be buried until her father is able to attend the ceremony.







Gangster

Meanwhile, gardai expect to find more clues to the fire today when they receive the results of a forensic examination of the house on Termon Road.

A notorious gangster is the main suspect behind the fire, which broke out at around 2.30am on Monday.

It is understood the man, a close associate of Sligo criminal David Lynch (39), who was murdered in January 2008, may have mistakenly targeted the house over a personal grudge.

hnews@herald.ie