Limerick woman’s death bed claim that her partner set her on fire

The late Martina Kiely.

A CORONERS court has heard that there was no evidence to support claims by a Limerick woman who said on her death bed that her former partner had set her on fire.

Martina Kiely (44) died of injuries she suffered in a fire which broke out at her home in Shanabooley Road, Ballynanty, on August 2, 2019.

A sitting of Dublin District Coroner’s Court, which was inquiring into her death, heard that the mother of one told an investigating Garda that her former partner, Kenneth Hynes, had sprayed a liquid on her and then set her on fire.

She repeated the claim to family members on her death bed in St James Hospital in Dublin, where she was still being treated for severe burns and died on December 31, 2020.

But the inquest heard a Garda investigation into the incident had concluded there was no foul play or anything suspicious in relation to her death.

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Detective Garda Seán O’Hagan told the inquest this week that Ms Kiely was “very confused about events” when he saw her on February 22, 2020, and he decided she was not in a fit condition to make a statement.

He explained he was prevented from taking a later statement from her because of Covid-19 restrictions.

He told the coroner, Aisling Gannon, that scene-of-crime officers who had inspected Ms Kiely’s house later on the day of the fire had found nothing suspicious to report following a technical examination of the property.

Addressing the coroner, the victim’s brother, Anthony Kiely, said his sister had also made the same claim about being set on fire by Mr Hynes to her family “on her death bed”.

He claimed Mr Hynes had abused his sister for years but that they were drinking buddies rather than partners at the end.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Hynes said that at the time the fire broke out, he was at home and was woken at 3am by a neighbour who alerted him to the blaze.

The coroner adjourned the hearing until March 13 at the request of the victim’s family and to issue a summons to Mr Hynes to attend the inquest to give evidence about his statement which was read out in court.