Tassagh fire deaths: Victim 'cried out for her mother'

Tassagh murder scene Thomas O'Hare and Lisa McClatchey died at their remote home near Tassagh

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A paramedic has told a murder trial that one of the victims cried out for her mother as he tried to dress her wounds.

Lisa McClatchey died days after the house she shared with her boyfriend, Thomas O'Hare, was attacked and burned by a gang of masked men.

Thomas O'Hare also died.

Four brothers, Niall, Christopher, Martin and Stephen Smith are on trial for their murders.

The prosecution alleges that they were motivated by a desire to "punish" Thomas O'Hare for an indecent assault he had perpetrated some 16 years earlier, an assault for which he had been convicted.

Sean Gordon, who was the first paramedic on the scene on the night of the attack, described how he found Ms McClatchey standing over a sink in the bathroom of a neighbour's house.

Masked men

She was wrapped in a dressing gown and told him she was in terrible pain and could not see.

Mr Gordon said she had told him that her glasses had "burned into her face".

He said he could not see any glasses on her face, but when he looked around he saw, lying on the floor nearby, "what appeared to be glasses with skin or flesh stuck to them".

Mr Gordon said Ms McClatchey had repeatedly called out for her mother. A woman who was present asked the injured woman for her mother's telephone number and rang it, but there was no answer.

The paramedic said Ms McClatchey had told him, very clearly, how a gang of men wearing balaclavas and carrying sledgehammers had broken into the house.

He said she told him they had shouted at Thomas O'Hare that he was a paedophile before beating him with the hammers, then dousing them and the house with petrol and "putting us on fire".

He was cross-examined about the accuracy of his recollection of what Ms McClatchey had told him but said his account was correct.

Later on Tuesday, the court heard that detectives had called at the home of Niall Smith within hours of the fire.

A detective told the jury he had received information about a blue/green car, possibly a Toyota Avensis, spotted leaving the scene of the fire and that "a number of members of the Smith family" had been admitted to hospital in Dundalk, County Louth, with burn injuries.

He said that as a result of that report, he called to a house at Mourneview Park, Lurgan at 12.45 GMT, less than four hours after the fire was started.

Although the lights were on, no-one answered the door, the detective added.

No car fitting the description was at the house, but the officer said he found it "strange" that within the development of 20-30 houses, there was only one other house that had lights on inside.

The trial continues.

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