Belfast Telegraph

Man faces murder charges after house fire that killed four members of a family

By Cate McCurry

A 27-year-old man appeared in court yesterday charged with murdering four people from the same family, including a baby, following a fire in Co Fermanagh.

Daniel Sebastian Allen, whose address was given as Molly Road in Derrylin, appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court.

A baby and two teenagers were among those who were found dead at their home after a fire ripped through the rented property in Derrylin last Tuesday.

It's understood that three generations of the family died.

While police have not yet confirmed the names of those who died, the landlord of the house, Tommy Fee (57), identified the tenants as Edward Gossett (16), his sister Diane Gossett (19), their mother Crystal Gossett, and Diane's young daughter, who he believes was under the age of two. Her name is not yet known. It is believed the tenants were originally from England.

Police confirmed that formal identifications have not yet taken place and they are working to establish further details.

Allen, who also faces charges of criminal damage and arson with intent to endanger life, was dressed in a grey tracksuit with long dark hair and a beard.

He was led handcuffed into the dock where he spoke only to say that he understood the charges against him.

The hearing, which lasted less than five minutes, heard no details of the fatal fire.

The accused was detained at the scene last Tuesday and taken to hospital where he was treated for injuries and remained under police guard.

He was taken into police custody on Thursday and was questioned by officers.

Detectives were granted further time for questioning and on Saturday confirmed that they had charged the man with four counts of murder.

A detective inspector told yesterday's hearing that he was aware of the facts and circumstances and could connect the accused to the charges.

The defendant's solicitor Gary Black confirmed that he would not be applying for bail.

When asked if he understood the charges against him, the defendant replied: "Yes".

District Judge Nigel Broderick remanded the defendant in custody to appear before Enniskillen court on March 26.

He was led handcuffed from the court house and used a jumper to hide his face from the waiting media.

Neighbours alerted emergency services to the blaze last Tuesday morning as they battled to access the house.

Mr Fee, who lives near the property, previously described how he and other neighbours tried to save those in the house by breaking down a door and window with a sledge hammer.

It is understood the family are originally from Doncaster in the north of England, and had moved to Tralee in Co Kerry for a number of years before moving to Derrylin more than 18 months ago.

Despite living in the area for some time, neighbours say they were not well-known in the area and it is understood they had no family connections to the border village. Yesterday flowers and tributes were left at the scene.

There was a heavy police presence on Friday night as the vehicles carrying the bodies of the family drove slowly along snow-covered Molly Road, bound to Belfast for post-mortems.

Prayers were said over the weekend for those who perished in the fire.

Belfast Telegraph

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