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Man charged over fatal fire that killed his mother in their Donegal home


A German national has been charged over a fatal fire which claimed the life of his elderly mother.

Guenter Lohse, 61, was brought before Sligo District Court on Friday morning over the fatal fire at a house in Coolvoy, Doochary, Donegal on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Lohse was brought from Ballyshannon Garda Station in Donegal to the courthouse in the back of a marked garda van on Friday morning.

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Garda Ciara Gibbons, of Ballyshannon Garda Station, gave evidence of arrest, caution and charge.

She told judge Sandra Murphy that she arrested Mr Lohse for the purpose of charge on Thursday night at 9.49pm, but the accused told her: “I want some sleep.”

After a break, she then charged him at 10.59pm with arson with intent to endanger life at a house in Coolvoy, Doochary, Donegal on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, under section 2 of the Criminal Damage Act.

A true copy of the charge sheet was handed to the accused, who was being assisted by his German interpreter in custody.

Mr Lohse made no comment after the charge.

Solicitor for the accused Tom MacSharry told the court that Mr Lohse had been visited by a doctor a number of times while under arrest. He also said his client had a psychiatric evaluation.



Guenter Lohse, 61, who appeared before a special sitting of Sligo District Court on Friday morning.
Guenter Lohse, 61, who appeared before a special sitting of Sligo District Court on Friday morning.

Mr MacSharry asked that his client Mr Lohse get “immediate and urgent” psychiatric treatment while he also requested that the defendant be placed on suicide watch in prison.

Mr MacSharry told the court that this is a “very tragic” case.

Legal aid was granted after Mr MacSharry said Mr Lohse was in effect a pensioner on a “small pension.”

Mr Lohse, wearing a blue top, navy tracksuit bottoms and navy runners, listened to the details through his interpreter.

The court heard that an interpreter is needed for the next court date.

Mr MacSharry asked for the same one present on Friday to be appointed as he had established a good relationship with Mr Lohse over the time he was in custody.

No bail application was made and Inspector David Durkin asked for the case to be adjourned to April 20.

Mr Lohse was remanded in custody and will appear at Falcarragh District Court, sitting in Letterkenny, on that date.

He had been arrested at the scene on Tuesday after gardai and emergency services responded to the fire which claimed the life of his mother Ruth Lohse, who was aged in her 80s.

Mr Lohse and his mother had been living together in the home, which was rented.

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