Judge jails man who set fire to three garden sheds in Limerick city suburb

A PSYCHIATRIST'S diagnosis that a Moyross man, who has a dangerous propensity to set fires, is not a pyromaniac "defies common sense" according to a judge who imposed a four year sentence on the arsonist who pleaded guilty to seven counts of arson at Limerick Circuit Court.

A PSYCHIATRIST'S diagnosis that a Moyross man, who has a dangerous propensity to set fires, is not a pyromaniac "defies common sense" according to a judge who imposed a four year sentence on the arsonist who pleaded guilty to seven counts of arson at Limerick Circuit Court.

Darren Holland of Cliona Park admitted setting fire to three garden sheds and a car on North Circular Road causing €10,000 worth of damage on dates in April, May and August 2009.

The 29-year-old was on bail from Nenagh Circuit Court on a number of arson offences when he again set light to three more garden sheds in the Ennis Road area on July 8, 2010.

He was identified from CCTV footage and when arrested by gardai, he said he set fire to one of the garden sheds to destroy finger prints which would have connected him to the theft of a bicycle.

A psychiatric report found that Mr Holland does not suffer from a mental health disorder and he does not demonstrate the features of pyromania. In a report presented to Judge Carroll Moran, the psychiatrist stated that Mr Holland does not stay to watch the fire or does not demonstrate intense excitement and instead he set fires to destroy incriminating evidence.

The judge conceded that while it was not for him to contradict this diagnosis, just because the defendant told the psychiatrist that he started the fire to destroy incriminating evidence "doesn't make it true", noting that there was no motive given for the other six arsons.

He said the defendant had a history of starting fires since the age of 16. He said it was a matter of concern that he pleaded guilty to a set of arson offences in Nenagh and then committed further arson offences in Limerick.

The judge said the finding that Mr Holland is not a pyromaniac "defies common sense, leading one to think that the diagnosis was found by tick box".

"Arson is one of the most serious offences in the category of crimes," Judge Moran said, because of "the grotesque appalling injuries that might be inflicted on human beings".

The arsonist was sentenced to four years in prison to run consecutive to the four year sentence imposed at Nenagh Circuit Court.