'Evidence gathered' | 

Suspect in Westmeath children's car fire deaths expected to be quizzed within days

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris confirmed that a criminal investigation was in place

A memorial at St. Cremin's SNational School, for Thelma Egar (5) and her brother Michael (2) who died and their mother seriously injured in a car fire near Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath last Friday evening. ...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin© Colin Keegan

Mikey (2) and Thelma Dennany (5) (issued by Garda Press Office)

The remains of Mikey (2) and Thelma Dennany (5) were released to their family yesterday from hospital

Mikey (2) and Thelma Dennany (5) (issued by Garda Press Office)

Mikey (2) and Thelma Dennany (5) (issued by Garda Press Office)

Ken Foy and Conor FeehanIndependent.ie

Gardaí expect to question a person of interest in the deaths of two children in a car fire in Co Westmeath within the coming days.

A suspect was identified within hours of the tragedy but has not yet been interviewed by investigators.

No other suspects have been identified and gardaí believe the car fire was started deliberately.

Yesterday, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris confirmed that a criminal investigation was in place into the suspicious deaths of Mikey Dennany (2) and his sister Thelma (5) who died in the car fire last Friday outside Multyfarnham.

Their bodies were released to their family yesterday from the hospitals they were taken to on Friday but funeral details have not yet been announced.

Mikey (2) and Thelma Dennany (5) (issued by Garda Press Office)

“An exact timeframe for when the person of interest will be interviewed by gardaí is not known at this stage but it is expected this will happen within days rather than weeks,” a source told the Irish Independent.

It is understood that gardaí based in Mullingar have gathered a large amount of evidence in the case, which is expected to be upgraded to a double murder enquiry.

The tragic children’s mother Lynn Egar, who was pulled from the car by a passer-by, remains in a Dublin hospital with non-life-threatening but serious injuries.

Mother-of-four Ms Egar, who is in her 40s, suffered burn injuries in the incident and has been under sedation after being airlifted to hospital.

Speaking in Galway yesterday, Mr Harris said the deaths of Michael and Thelma were being treated as suspicious.

“This is now a crime investigation,” Mr Harris said. “We are investigating this as suspicious circumstances around these deaths and we are regarding it now as a crime investigation.

“In particular, we would ask the public for their support in helping us with this investigation.”

Last night gardaí issued an appeal to anyone with information in relation to the incident to come forward.

In particular, any road users or others who were in the area of Lacken, Multyfarnham, between the hours of 2pm and 4pm on Friday, September 9, and who have any video footage, including dashcam footage, is asked to make it available to gardaí.

The remains of Mikey (2) and Thelma Dennany (5) were released to their family yesterday from hospital

Gardaí are continuing to investigate all the circumstances surrounding the fire and have completed a forensic search at the scene of the blaze and also at the remote farmhouse 12km away outside the town of Rathowen, where the family lived.

Formal identification of the children has been completed and the forensic and technical aspects of the garda investigation has also been completed.

Gardaí said a family liaison officer is continuing to keep the family updated.

Mikey (2) and Thelma Dennany (5) (issued by Garda Press Office)

Local people have placed teddy bears, toys, flowers and candles at the scene of the fire on the remote road outside the village.

Yesterday morning at St Cremin’s National School, where Thelma was a senior infants pupil, the principal and staff set up a table of remembrance with candles surrounding photographs of the two children.

In a statement, principal Karl Dermody said they were devastated to learn of the sudden death of a beloved member of their school community.

“Thelma will be remembered by classmates and teachers as a warm, happy, and vibrant member of St Cremin’s National School,” Mr Dermody said.


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