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24/07/2021

Man (21) pleads guilty to manslaughter for killing man by setting fire to his house five years ago

Man (21) pleads guilty to manslaughter for killing man by setting fire to his house five years ago

A 21-year-old man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for killing a Monaghan man by setting fire to his house five years ago.

Aaron McDonagh had originally been charged with the murder of 61-year-old Gerry Marron at St Macartans Villas, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan on March 21, 2016.

McDonagh, of no fixed abode, on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter when the first charge was put to him by the registrar at the Central Criminal Court.

He also pleaded guilty to committing arson without lawful excuse on the same date in that he did damage by fire to a dwellinghouse at St Macartans Villas, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, the property of Mr Marron, intending to damage such property or being reckless as to whether such property would be damaged and intending by the said damage to endanger the life of another or being reckless as to whether the life of another would be thereby endangered. 

Prosecution counsel Shane Costelloe SC said the plea was acceptable to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on a full facts basis. 

Michael Lynn SC, defending, informed the court that a psychiatric report had led to a recommendation that his client have an intermediary present when he was arraigned before the court. Mr Justice Michael White acceded to this request and McDonagh's solicitor stood beside him in the dock for the purpose of his arraignment.

Mr Lynn said the accused was 16 years of age at the time of the incident and asked the court to direct a probation service report, which included his family background. 

Mr Justice White directed the preparation of a probation service report, which focused on the accused's family background and a victim impact statement. He remanded McDonagh in custody until June 14, when his sentence hearing will take place.

Mr Costelloe said the case had originally been fixed for trial on July 19 and that date could now be vacated. 

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