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Brothers charged with Armagh fire horror

Two brothers have been charged with murdering a couple who were beaten and doused with petrol before being set on fire.

Martin Smith (40) and Niall Smith (37) appeared before Armagh Magistrates Court yesterday after they were extradited from the Republic.

Both were charged with two counts of murder and arson.

Thomas O’Hare (33) and his girlfriend Lisa McClatchey (21) were attacked at home in Co Armagh in November 2006.

Petrol was then poured around the house and ignited, a PSNI officer told the court.

The officer said the suspects were later identified, a direction was made to prosecute them for alleged arson and murder, and a European Arrest Warrant was |issued.

The men were detained by police in the Republic last month. Martin Smith was arrested in Co Louth. He previously lived at Kevlin Glen in Omagh.

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Niall Smith, previously of Mourneview, Armagh city, was arrested in north Dublin.

The pair wore jeans and dark coats as they stood in the dock separated by prison officers, gesturing to identify themselves.

They spoke only to confirm their dates of birth.

They showed no emotion when details of the incident of which they are charged in relation to were given to the court by police.

The PSNI officer told the court: “The suspects were identified and a file sent to the Public Prosecution |Service.”

He said directions were issued to prosecute for the murder of the two victims and arson of the property in |Tassagh, near Newtownhamilton.

They were arrested by police in Northern Ireland on Monday, the court heard.

A defence solicitor said the two defendants consented to their transfer to Northern Ireland.

No bail application was made as addresses for bail had not yet been finalised, the court heard.

The pair were remanded in custody by District Judge Paul Copeland to reappear in Armagh via video-link in four weeks’ time.

The brutal double killing sent shockwaves throughout Northern Ireland.

Ms McClatchey managed to alert neighbours by running into the garden in flames.

Mr O’Hare was found lying in the garden. He died four days later in hospital while Ms McClatchey died just over a week after the horrific incident.

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