A MAN has been jailed for killing a five-year-old girl who died after he set fire to her house.
John Lynch is beginning a 13 year sentence for killing Mari Keane-Connolly on October 3 last.
Lynch started the fire which claimed her life at her father’s home in Termon Road, Boyle, Co Roscommon.
Lynch (33), originally from Sligo but with an address at Church View in Boyle, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, arson and causing serious harm to Mr Connolly.
Handing down the sentence of 13 years for manslaughter, Judge Tony Hunt said: “The depth of terror in her final moments defy imagination”.
Judge Hunt said the tragedy had stemmed from a “trivial” incident involving John Lynch’s girlfriend Anita O’Hara and Mari’s uncle John Boy Connolly.
On the night to the arson, Lynch had taken a cocktail of cocaine and alcohol.
Later that night, Mr Lynch beat his girlfriend with a metal curtain pole, breaking her jaw and leaving her bruised all over.
He then left the house, travelling to nearby Termon Road where he set fire to the Connolly home.
He said he was unaware that Mari, her two sisters and her father Richard were asleep inside.
The court previously heard how Richard Connolly had made desperate attempts to save his three daughters.
He fractured his back trying to get the girls to safety. While his two elder daughters Naomi and Lauren jumped after their father, little Mari did not, and perished in the fire.
The judge also sentenced Lynch to eight years each for causing serious harm to Richard Connolly and a third charge of arson. The charges are to run concurrently and were backdated to October 13 of last year.
Lynch has a total of 17 previous convictions ranging from burglary and assault to firearms offences and had spent a number of years in Castlerea prison.