Prisoner arrested over boy's death in fire 10 years ago


GARDAÍ HAVE arrested an inmate in Mountjoy Prison in relation to the death of a 12-year-old boy who died when the makeshift hut in which he was sleeping was set alight more than 10 years ago.

The 52-year-old male was arrested yesterday in connection with the death of Stephen Hughes Connors who died in a blaze near his home in Tallaght, Dublin, on September 1st, 2001.

The suspect was transferred from Mountjoy, where he is an inmate, and brought to Tallaght Garda station where he can be questioned for up to 24 hours.

The child died after the den in which he and a friend were sleeping was set alight. Although gardaí originally believed the fire had started when the two boys knocked over a candle, subsequent examination of CCTV footage at the scene revealed an unidentified man approaching the hut after 5am.

The footage from a nearby business premises showed him with a dog, leaving and returning alone approximately nine minutes later. He then left for a second time, shortly before a small explosion was heard at the scene.

The hut, which was predominantly made of pallets, doors and carpet in an alley between a derelict shop and a house at Rossfield Avenue in Brookfield, Tallaght, Dublin, caught fire.

The deceased’s friend, Darren Hall, who was 14 at the time, awoke and tried to pull the victim to safety. While his friend escaped the blaze with minor injuries Stephen Hughes Connors died from smoke inhalation.

The case was re-examined by the Garda serious crime review team in April 2006 when a 51 year old was arrested in connection with the case. A file was sent to the DPP but did not result in a prosecution.

A Garda spokesman said yesterday’s arrest was made as a result of an ongoing investigation.

In an appeal to mark the anniversary last year, Liz Hughes, who believed her son was staying with relatives on the night of the fire, said she remained devastated by her son’s death.

“It would be a comfort to know what happened to Stephen – even after all these years,” she said.