A TRILLICK man has been remanded in custody over an arson incident in which a car was burnt out in the village at the weekend.
Martin Mulholland (45) of Woodview Crescent appeared before Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday charged with arson, arson with intent to endanger life and two breaches of a restraining order.
A police constable told the court that in the early hours of Sunday morning, police were called to a report of a vehicle on fire at the side of Packie’s Bar. When officers arrived they found a Volkswagen Jetta belonging to Frank McDonald had been burnt out. The incident was being dealt with by the Fire Service and damage was also caused to a PVC door of the pub and a store room door. A woman was upstairs at the time.
The defendant was identified on CCTV walking up the Main Street wearing a balaclava, gloves, green hooded top and jeans. He was observed crouching down beside the car before pouring liquid over the doors, windscreen and bonnet. The car was set alight and the defendant then ran off towards the Kilskeery Road.
The police officer said that a footprint trail led from the car towards Mulholland’s home. A plastic bag was found by officers hidden in a hedgerow near the GAA pitch. It contained gloves, a green hat with holes cut into it, baseball cap and three glass bottles containing rags. All of the items were soaked with flammable liquid and smelt of petrol.
Police attended the defendant’s home and forced entry where they found a strong smell of petrol and a 5 litre jerry can. Wet clothes smelling of petrol were also found in a washing machine. The court heard that Mulholland had been in the bar on two occasions the night before despite being barred from the premises since December 2016.
Mulholland was taken to Omagh Police Station where he gave a no comment interview.
Objecting to bail, the constable said the defendant’s address was unsuitable as it is two minutes walk from the pub and there are also concerns around interference with witnesses.
District Judge Michael Ranaghan heard that 23 items have been seized for forensic examination.
Defence barrister Ciaran Roddy pointed out that his client had denied all the offences.
“He denies being in the bar that night and was in fact at a local golf club. There are clearly identification issues and based on nothing more than a suspicion or hunch,” he said.
Mr Roddy added that while his client has a long criminal record, the lion’s share of the offences had occurred when he was younger, adding that Mulholland lives alone and suffers from stress-related mental health issues.
However the judge took into account police concerns as he refused bail. Mulholland was remanded in custody to appear before Omagh Magistrates Court via video-link on June 26th. He was given leave to appeal the decision in the High Court.