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Sentencing delay in case where 3 family members died in Fermanagh fire

Sep 18, 2023 11:21 By News Northern Sound
Sentencing delay in case where 3 family members died in Fermanagh fire
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32-year-old Daniel Sebastian Allen remains remanded in custody since his arrest.

Sentencing in the case of a man who admitted murdering three generations of the same family, including a baby, in a horrific Co Fermanagh blaze has been delayed while his lawyers await a psychiatric assessment and report. 32-year-old Daniel Sebastian Allen whose address was previously the scene of the incident at Molly Road, Derrylin but is now Maghaberry Prison, remains remanded in custody since his arrest.

He was charged with murdering Denise Gossett (45) her son Roman (16) and daughter Sabrina (19) whose baby daughter Morgana Quinn, also perished in the blaze. All resided in the County Fermanagh property when the incident occurred on the 27th of February, 2018.

When first formally arraigned in 2020, Allen denied the charges as well as one count of arson endangering life. At a further hearing in 2022 he accepted manslaughter of two adult victims, due to a suicide pact. He continued to deny murdering Roman and the baby Morgana, contending they were already deceased.

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The case was set for hearing in June this year and a jury was sworn in to prepare for trial but on the morning this was to begin at Dungannon Crown Court sitting in Craigavon, Allen's senior barrister asked for him to be re-arraigned. In respect of each he admitted murdering Sabrina, Roman and baby Morgana, however maintained his position around Denise accepting manslaughter by way of suicide pact.

He further admitted arson endangering life. Prosecution counsel said the lesser plea in respect of Denise was acceptable. Mr Justice O'Hara told Allen, "You have pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and I sentence you to life imprisonment."

Pre-sentence reports and other relevant assessments are to be prepared and Allen was due to learn the minimum tariff he will at the most recent court sitting. However the defence explained, "We are awaiting an updated psychiatric report by a consultant who previously saw the defendant on several occasions. Obviously this is a very complex case and there have been difficulties in completing a report.

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"The consultant is unable to give a precise date in when this will be completed but he has tentatively suggested November. I appreciate that's not very satisfactory but that's the current up-to-date position we have." He suggested a review to fix a date for the substantive plea and sentence to be heard before Christmas.

Mr Justice O'Hara agreed to revisit the matter on the 17th of November but stressed the psychiatric report is expected by the court by that time, in order to progress matters on the next occasion. There were previously significant delays in having the case set for trial including in-depth psychological assessments around Allen's mental health.

Last year a defence barrister confirmed a consultant psychiatrist conducted an examination of Allen which, "Does not support diminished responsibility and we no longer have evidence to support that." What occurred at the property or how the tragic outcome came about remains unknown at the time.

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