GARDAÍ are looking to identify three men who were seen in the area where an arson attack took place in Newbridge eight years ago.
That fire resulted in the death of an 81 year old man and a cold case review of his murder is now underway by local gardaí.
Michael Crowe was 81 when he died following the fire at his home at Pairc Mhuire on Sunday 4 October 2009 and gardaí are hoping that the public will be able to provide assistance in their efforts to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.
At the time of his death Michael Crowe was living at 1646 Pairc Mhuire with his wife Betty and their son Thomas. The couple’s other son Sean wasn’t living at the house at the time.
Kildare Divisional Garda Inspector Mel Smyth is leading the cold case review and he described Michael Crowe as a ‘quite unassuming man’ who had worked in Bord na Mona and on the Curragh Camp. Mr Crow also drove a bus for KARE and would have been regularly seen cutting grass in the area.
At approximately 2.15am on Sunday 4 October 2009 a brick was thrown through the front porch window of the house where Michael, Betty and Thomas were asleep. Gardaí were called and attended at the scene and after details were taken the gardaí left and the Crowe family returned to their beds.
Almost four hours later at approximately 6am Thomas Crowe was awoken by a loud bang coming from downstairs. Upon investigation he discovered that the hallway and the bottom of the stairs were on fire. He immediately went to parents’ assistance.
With the help of several neighbours, particularly Robert Whyte, Trevor Pearse and Martin Meade, they were able to get Betty Crowe out of the house through a top floor bedroom window. Shortly after his mother exited the house the force of the fire caused Thomas to be ejected from the house through a first floor bedroom window.
Unfortunately Michael Crowe was not able to escape from the fire and was later pronounced dead.
Following the incident a murder investigation commenced during which nearly 700 statements were taken and hundreds of different lines of enquiry were followed up.
At a briefing for local journalists ahead of the eight anniversary of Michael Crowe’s murder Inspector Smyth said: “Several persons of interest were spoken to but no one person of interest was identified. Gardaí have never established any reason why the Crowes were the subject of this attack. This is a live ongoing investigation and it is subject to ongoing review.”
Inspector Smyth added that a review was previously undertaken and while this didn’t yield any results Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche has asked him to undertake another review of the case.
“The original investigating officers will be working with me on the case and we will revisit the statements that were taken and the different lines of enquiry that were followed to see if they will help us in our investigation. Our hope is that with a new set of eyes we will be able to challenge the evidence in the case and hopefully this will yield results. There were three men in the area that night who were seen by two different witnesses and these men have never been identified. Gardaí want to identify these men.”
In conclusion Inspector Smyth said: “We would appeal to anyone who may have been in or around the Pairc Mhuire estate in the early hours of the morning on Sunday 4 October 2009 between 2am and 6am to contact us. We are also appealing to anyone who may have any information as to the identity of the person or persons who carried out this attack or who were acting suspiciously in or around that time. Someone out there will know that a house was to be attacked that night in that area and we would appeal to them to come forward. Any information supplied will be dealt with confidentially and we urge anyone who has any information, even if they believe it to be trivial or insignificant to get in contact with us at Newbridge Garda Station at 045 440180, the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666111 or Crimestoppers at 1800 250025.”