Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of setting fire to car outside Co Tyrone bar while woman slept inside refused bail

Belfast High Court (Paul Faith/PA)
Belfast High Court (Paul Faith/PA)

By Alan Erwin

A man accused of setting fire to a car parked outside a Co Tyrone bar while a woman slept upstairs must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled today.

Martin Mulholland, 45, was refused bail amid claims he destroyed the Volkswagen Jetta and caused £20,000 of damage to a nearby telephone exchange box.

Mr Justice McAlinden said: "The Crown objections (to his release) are well and truly made out."  

Mulholland, of Woodview Crescent in Trillick, faces charges of arson endangering life and breaching a restraining order over the incident in the village.

Firefighters were called to the blaze outside the family-run Packies Bar on Main Street in the early hours of June 3.

The flames also spread to the doors of the pub's storeroom where gas cylinders were kept, prosecutors said.

A member of the family had been sleeping above the premises, but she was unharmed.

CCTV footage showed a man in a balaclava and gloves approach the car and pour liquid over the doors, bonnet and windscreen before setting it alight and fleeing, the court was told.

A Crown lawyer said a footprint trail led police to a bag in a field containing gloves, a cap and three glass bottles containing rags - all soaked in flammable liquid.

Officers went to Mulholland's home where they detected a strong smell of petrol and a jerry can.

Jeans and boots were allegedly found mid-cycle in the washing machine.

Mulholland claimed the smell was due to landscaping work and garden strimmer kept in his kitchen.

He is currently barred from entering the pub under the terms of a restraining order.

But the prosecution alleged that CCTV footage showed him entering and leaving the bar twice on the evening before the arson attack.

It was confirmed that the fire caused £20,000 worth of damage to the adjacent BT exchange box.

That figure may rise from potential loss of earnings, prosecution counsel indicated.

A defence barrister confirmed Mulholland denies the charges or being at the bar that night.

Denying bail, however, Mr Justice McAlinden cited the risks of further offences and interference with the investigation.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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