Belfast Telegraph

Police bid to trace pair over fatal Dungannon fire

By David Young

Detectives investigating an arson attack that killed a mother and daughter said they are looking for two unidentified men seen close to the scene of the blaze.

The police made the appeal after funerals were held today for Betty McGirr, 71, and 38-year-old Deirdre McGirr.

The pensioner was visiting her daughter when the inferno started at the back of the house in Dunlea Vale, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, earlier this month and ripped through her top-floor flat.

A third person, a Portuguese man understood to be Deirdre's partner, escaped unhurt and is not suspected of involvement with the fire.

Requiem Mass for the mother and daughter was celebrated in St Malachy's Church at Edendork, on the outskirts of Dungannon, this morning.

The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Harkness, said police needed help to identify the two men seen near the house around the time of fire on Saturday April 14.

He also asked anyone who had their wheelie bins set alight in the area in the last two years, or had seen young people starting fires, to contact them.

The first man was seen in Dunlea Vale around 9.30 to 10pm on the night of the fire. He was said to be about 5ft 8in, slim, with swarthy skin and dark around the eyes. He is thought to be in his early 30s and was wearing a black hoodie with a white motif on the front. The hoodie was pulled up.

The second man was seen at around 2am on Sunday 15 in the same Dunlea Vale area talking on a mobile phone. He was said to about 6ft, slim, with dark skin and thickish black hair. He was wearing a light grey sweater or hoodie-type top and dark coloured bottoms. He is believed to be around 30.

Detective Chief Inspector Harkness said: "We need these men to identify themselves to police so they can be eliminated from our enquiries.

"We have had a significant response from the community to our appeals for information but our picture is not completely clear.

"We are still working to piece together the events of the night of Saturday 14 April. And we are particularly interested in talking to anyone in the Dunlea Vale and Dunavon areas who has had their wheelie bins interfered with or set on fire in the past two years or has seen young people starting fires.

"I would ask anyone in the area who knows anything about what happened to come and talk to us."

Anyone who can provide information is asked to contact the Special Incident Room at Dungannon police station on 028 8775 0559. Alternatively, people can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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