Jail term after fire causes death of homeless man

Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 01:00

A MAN who caused the death of a homeless man by starting a fire in an underground car park has been jailed for 7½ years.

Jamie Maguire (22) set a car alight because he wanted to cover his tracks after breaking into the vehicle to steal from it.

The fire quickly engulfed the apartment block car park, and three people who had been sleeping rough there were injured.

John Donohue (44) died a few weeks later from his injuries. The court heard that the blaze cost an estimated €4.6 million in fire damage to the building.

Maguire, of Blackhall Street, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to arson and the manslaughter of Mr Donohue at Smithfield Gate apartments on Red Cow Lane on August 17th, 2008.

Det Sgt Kevin Daly told senior counsel Dominic McGinn, prosecuting, Maguire was arrested later the same night nearby by a Garda investigating the arson of two other cars on that street.

Maguire told gardaí he had been drinking and taking pills earlier in the night. After a row with his girlfriend he left his friends and walked down Manor Street.

He said he went into the car park looking to steal something from a car. After breaking into the car and finding nothing to steal he decided to set fire to it to get rid of any fingerprints.

Maguire found a piece of clothing and used his own lighter to set fire to this. He told gardaí he then noticed some people and decided he should leave. The entire car park was consumed by fire and all the residents in the 67-unit apartment block had to be evacuated.

The dead man suffered burns to half of his body surface and inhalation injuries from breathing in smoke. He died on September 9th after his body went go into septic shock and his organs failed.

Senior counsel Aileen Donnelly, defending, said Maguire wished to express his deepest remorse to the family of Mr Donohue and to the other victims.