Northern Ireland

McElhill fire murder house in Omagh is demolished

The charred shell of Lammy Crescent where the family-of-seven died
Image caption The charred shell of Lammy Crescent where the family-of-seven died

The house where a convicted sex offender burnt his partner and five children to death has been demolished.

Arthur McElhill killed his family in a house fire in Omagh, County Tyrone in 2007, because his partner, Lorraine McGovern threatened to leave.

The subsequent inquest heard a phone call made by Lorraine's daughter, Caroline, 13, in which she pleaded for help from her burning home.

The boarded-up property at Lammy Crescent was demolished on Wednesday.

The shell of the house was a grim reminder of what happened to Lorraine, Caroline, Sean, 7, Bellina, 4, Clodagh, 19 months and James, who was nine months old.

It was a tragedy that shocked people across Northern Ireland.

Arthur McElhill had been having sex with a 16-year-old girl in the weeks before the fire.

The coroner at the inquest concluded that Ms McGovern was likely to be in the process of leaving him and this, coupled with his fear of facing prison because of his illicit relationship, contributed to him starting the fire.

The inquest also heard of McElhill's previous suicide attempts and his use of a Bebo social-networking account in his son's name to groom teenage girls for sex.

It also heard he had two previous convictions for rape.

After sensitive negotiations between the families, residents and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the executive agreed to buy the house and demolish it.

Discussions will continue and it is understood new properties will be built on the cleared site.