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Fire fear Tragic bachelor uncle who was killed in the blaze in his home lived in fear of arsonist nephew

Bachelor allowed nephew stay in his home despite fears he might burn it down, but he did anyway and only cared about death of the dog

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Daniel Murray

Daniel Murray

Daniel Murray

A 59-year-old bachelor burnt to death in an arson attack by his own nephew had been living in fear of the 40-year-old relative who had previously tried to burn the house down.

Daniel Murray (40) was this week convicted of the manslaughter of his uncle Oliver Murray - who was killed in the blaze at his home in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, on August 2, 2018.

A neighbour later told gardaí that fire-starter Murray had been more ­concerned about the death of his uncle's pet dog, who also died in the fire.

The Sunday World has learned:

● Slain Oliver had lived in fear of Daniel, who he allowed to stay in his home, but the older man was too afraid to kick him out in case he burnt the house down;

● Daniel had previously tried to set a bungalow home belonging to another relative alight in a separate area of Ballyjamesduff - with the relative inside;

● Daniel succeeded in setting fire to a house near to that person's home and later admitted it when confronted; and

● And, the thug almost killed a cousin of his just one week before he killed his uncle Oliver - by repeatedly striking him in the face with a rock inside a bag while the relative slept.

"An awful lot of people said that ­Danny was evil," a source told the Sunday World.

"I think he was evil too. I used to say the devil must have gotten into him or something. It is important now that he gets help while he is in prison.

"I don't know what was wrong with Daniel but there is definitely something wrong."

At the Central Criminal Court this week Detective Sergeant Arthur ­O'Connor ­confirmed that Daniel had 48 previous convictions, several of which were for arson attacks in Ballyjamesduff.

He also said the attacker had been staying with his uncle at the time and was found by a neighbour at his parents' house shortly after the blaze was put out.

On being told his uncle had died in the fire, Murray didn't appear too concerned and only asked about the welfare of the dog, the neighbour said.

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Det Sgt O'Connor also told the court that when Daniel returned to the scene he said that a "murder" had taken place.

He agreed that Murray had been ­pointing to a group of people who had gathered outside the house when he shouted: "Look at the relations, all ­talking and staring. Just because there has been a murder. Parasites."

Speaking of how Daniel had come to be staying with his uncle, a source said Oliver had taken him in out of kindness.

"He was very good to Daniel. He let Daniel stay with him in the house. But Daniel was difficult.

"Oliver told others that he was afraid of Daniel - that he had to put a lock on the door of his bedroom in case Daniel would go in and kill him," said the insider.

"He had set a fire in a house in the estate where his own father lived and he admitted that, two or three years after, he had done that.

"There was something just not right. And the problem was, coming up to the time that he killed Oliver, Daniel was drinking a lot of cider and smoking a lot of cannabis.

"Oliver was afraid to say anything to him in case he'd burn the house down if he threw him out. But he burnt it anyway."

The source said that people in the local area suspected Daniel immediately following Oliver's death in the fire.

"People did suspect it was Daniel who had set the fire because he had set a fire in Oliver's house before.

"Oliver had covered up for him saying something had fallen out of the fire and burnt the floor. But Oliver admitted after it was Daniel.

Daniel Murray's propensity for harming others had also manifested itself in a horrific attack on a first cousin - just one week before he killed his uncle.

Court records obtained by the Sunday World show Daniel was convicted of assault causing harm to his cousin Karl Farrelly on July 25 .

A week before he burnt Oliver, he and his cousin Karl were having a few drinks in Oliver's house, a source said.

"Karl fell asleep, and while he was asleep, Daniel went out and got a big stone and he put it in a bag, and he bashed the face off Karl. The surgeon said, down in the hospital, that Karl was lucky he was a big man … because other than that he could have been dead."

Daniel was sentenced to three years in prison for that attack which he is still serving. This week he got seven and a half years for manslaughter.

Asked about the impact of Oliver's death, the source said it was a devastating time for his relatives. His family "lost everything that night".

"They lost the home that we were reared in and they lost Oliver."

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