Belfast Telegraph

Fireball murder victim Lisa McClatchey 'cried out for her mother'

By Paul Higgins

A murder victim horrifically burned in an arson attack pleaded for her mother, a jury has heard.

Paramedic Sean Gordon told the Armagh Crown Court jury that when he was treating Lisa McClatchey, "she asked for her mammy, she wanted her mammy she said." 

Mr Gordon was the first member of the emergency services to arrive at a house on the Foley Road where arson victims Lisa and her boyfriend Thomas O'Hare had been taken, after they were attacked at their house next door.

The paramedic told the six men and six women on the jury that when he asked Lisa what had happened, she recounted to him how six men wearing balaclavas and armed with sledgehammers "accused Thomas of being a paedophile and started to beat him".

He described how she was "speaking very clearly" when she told him how "they poured petrol around the house and round them and lit them."

Tragically both 21-year-old Lisa and Thomas (33) died in the days after the incident which happened seven years ago this month.

It is the Crown case that the four Smith brothers, Martin (40) from Kevlin Glen, near Omagh, 37-year-old Niall from Mourneview Park in Lurgan,  Christopher (33) and Stephen (31), both from Mourneview in Mowhan, launched their murderous attack in revenge for the sexual abuse Thomas perpetrated on Stephen Smith in the late 80s and early 90s.

All four deny the couple's murders and arson with intent to endanger life in November 2006.

Today Mr Gordon told prosecuting QC Toby Hedworth that he found Lisa in the bathroom of the neighbours house wearing a dressing, gown but that it was obvious she was "badly burned all over".

"She was saying that she was in a lot of pain and couldn't see," said the paramedic adding that he applied several tubes of antiseptic cooling gel to her body.

Although Lisa told him her glasses had been "burned to my face," he said he saw "something that resembled glasses on the floor with like skin attached to them".

Asked why he took an account from Lisa about what had happened, Mr Gordon said part of his training was that it is important "to get a good history" for when the patient is handed over to medical staff.

While he was treating Lisa, a police officer came into the bathroom and asked her what had happened.

Mr Gordon said he heard Lisa tell the officer the men came in through the back door with hammers and two petrol canisters which they "poured around the house and around them and lit it". 

"The policeman asked her 'can you remember what happened Lisa' and she said 'yes I can remember everything'".

Under cross examination from Niall Smith's defence QC Karen Quinlivan, Mr Gordon accepted there were differences between what he told police on November 10 and his statement four days later, in that he did not mention during the first chat that the men had hammers, that Lisa told him Thomas had been beaten with sledgehammers or that they had been set alight.

The lawyer suggested he had been influenced by local gossip and what he had read in the newspapers at the time but the paramedic was adamant that while he could not explain the differences, he said "I would not have let that happen".

The trial continues.

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