Four brothers found guilty of manslaughter

Four brothers with links to the Dundalk area were this week found guilty at Belfast Crown Court of the manslaughter of a couple, whose Armagh home was torched in 2006.

Niall, Martin, Christopher and Stephen Smith killed Thomas O’Hare and Lisa McClatchey at the couple’s home near Tassagh, County Armagh, in what was claimed to be a revenge attack.

The brothers had admitted breaking into the house, beating Mr O’Hare and pouring petrol around the property, but denied intending to kill either victim.

Niall Martin (41) was arrested by Gardaí in Dundalk last year.

Both Christoper and Stephen Smith had played GAA for the Naomh Malachi club in recent years.

The Smith brothers were also found not guilty of arson, but guilty of attempted arson.

Mr O’Hare and Ms McClatchey died of the injuries they suffered in the fire at the house. The four brothers were also badly burned.

During the trial - which lasted more than three weeks - the court heard that Mr O’Hare had sexually abused Stephen Smith, the youngest of the four brothers, many years earlier.

At the time, Mr O’Hare was aged 17 and Stephen Smith eight or nine. An hour after the fatal fire, four men appeared at hospital inDundalk.

The court heard how the brothers hatched their plan after Stephen Smith saw his abuser driving in and out of the housing estate where his family lived during the summer of 2006.

They claimed they were concerned Mr O’Hare would sexually abuse their children.

The brothers will have to wait until the new year to find out how long they will spend in jail.

Judge Weatherup called for pre-sentence reports. He said the process normally took six weeks but was likely to be longer because of Christmas.


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