Man pleads guilty to murder of three family members in house fire
A man has pleaded guilty to the murder of three members of the same family in a house fire in Co Fermanagh.
Denise Gossett, 45, her son Roman, 16, her daughter Sabrina, 19, and Sabrina’s 15-month-old daughter Morgana were all killed in a fire on February 27 2018, at their home in Derrylin.
Daniel Sebastian Allen, 32, of Doon Road, Derrylin, appeared in Craigavon Crown Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to the murder of Roman and Sabrina Gossett, as well as Sabrina’s infant daughter Morgana Quinn.
Allen also pleaded guilty to arson and, relating to the death of 45-year-old Denise Gossett, he admitted manslaughter “by reason of suicide pact”.
Allen was sentenced to life imprisonment, and will appear again in court in mid-September for a tariff hearing to determine the minimum amount of time he will spend in prison before he can be considered for release.
Appearing in the dock wearing a checked shirt, accompanied by officers, Allen read his pleas from a sheet of paper held by an official.
He did not react when the judge, Mr Justice O’Hara, delivered a life sentence for the murder of three members of the Gossett family.
The judge thanked the jury members who had been sworn in on Monday for their time, adding that he wanted them to be there for Allen’s plea so they understood why the case would not be proceeding as planned.
Defence barrister Frank O’Donoghue said his client understood the charges against him, with prosecution barrister David McDowell saying he was satisfied with the new arraignment conditions.
Allen had previously been set to contest the charges of murder on the grounds he claimed had been involved in a suicide pact with both Denise and Sabrina Gossett, and had no part in the death of the younger two victims.
On these grounds, Allen previously pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter, and not guilty to murder and not guilty to one count of arson with intent to endanger life.
Allen has been in custody since 2018.
During a court session in early 2022 the defence team concluded that Allen’s mental-health assessment did not provide evidence of diminished responsibility.
Allen will appear in court again for a tariff hearing on Friday September 15.