Northern Ireland news

Woman pleads guilty to killing pensioner in Carryduff house fire

Forensic officers at the scene of the fire which killed 91-year-old Samuel Carson in 2014. Picture by Mal McCann

A CO Down woman has admitted killing a 91-year-old neighbour who died following a fire at his home almost two years ago.

Karen Hasson (58), of Thorndale Park, Carryduff, appeared in the dock of Downpatrick Crown Court where her case had been listed for mention.

Defence counsel Paddy Little asked Judge Piers Grant for her to be re-arraigned and when the charge of manslaughter was put to her, she replied "Guilty''.

Prosecution lawyer Sam Magee told the court: "The guilty plea is acceptable to the Crown. The two remaining counts of arson endangering life with intent and arson endangering life are to be left on the books and not to be proceeded with without the leave of this court or the Court of Appeal.''

Judge Grant adjourned sentencing until May 13 and released Hasson on continuing bail.

No details of the charge were given in court but a previous hearing was told that Samuel Carson had been asleep in bed in the early hours of September 2 2014 when a fire in the garage of a neighbouring house in Thorndale Park in Carryduff spread to his Hillsborough Road home.

At the time it was reported that the garage blaze spread to an oil tank, causing the pensioner's bungalow to go up in flames.

Firefighters rescued Mr Carson from his home, on the outskirts of south Belfast, but efforts to revive him failed and he was declared dead at the scene.

The pensioner was described as an animal lover and well-loved member of the local community who had been a long-standing member of Carryduff Baptist Church.

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