Arsonist does not want to be branded a killer

 

A Dublin man who admits causing the death of a toddler during an arson attack on a house last year does not want to be branded a murderer for the rest of his life, his lawyer told a jury yesterday.

The accused man, Gerard Redmond, admitted that he threw a petrol bomb into the kitchen of a house in Buttercup Park, Darndale on July 23rd, 2000 to "get back" at a member of the family living there, Mr Steffanio Lieghio, who had earlier assaulted him.

Mr Redmond (36), a father of six, of Fairfield, Coolock, denied the murder of one-year-old Adam Lieghio, who was killed in the fire. Yesterday his lawyer accepted on his behalf that he was guilty of arson.

Mr Justice Philip O'Sullivan also told the jury that he had directed that a third charge - of arson with intent to endanger life - be eliminated from the indictment.

Five people escaped from the blaze. Mr Steffanio Lieghio was not in the house. He had left the area earlier by taxi.

In his closing speech to the Central Criminal Court jury, Mr Hugh Harnett, defending, said what his client did was "illegal, outrageous, disgraceful and dangerous", but he had not intended to kill or cause serious injury to anyone.

Mr Edward Comyn SC, prosecuting, argued that while Mr Redmond may have been provoked by the assault of Mr Lieghio, his response was an "outrageous act" which he went about in "a cool and calculated manner".

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict on Monday.