27 Sept 2022

Man deemed fit to stand trial over fatal house fire that killed his mother

The woman, aged in her 80s, died in the house fire at Doochary in April 2022. Her son has been charged in connection with the incident

Investigations into Doochary fire continue

Gardai secure the scene of the house fire in Doochary .

A man charged in connection with a fatal Doochary house fire which resulted in the death of his mother has been deemed fit to stand trial.

Guenter Lohse, a 61-year-old German national, has been in custody at Castlerea Prison since the fire in April.

Lohse appeared via video link before Judge James Faughnan at Letterkenny District Court on Thursday morning.

Lohse’s solicitor, Mr Tom McSharry, told the court that a clinical psychologist had assessed his client and found no issue with regard to Lohse’s fitness to plead or to stand trial.

Sergeant Sean McDaid told the court that a file will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) next week.

“The file is nearly ready,” Sergeant McDaid said. “We have everything. It’s just a matter now of compiling and sending it to the DPP.”

Lohse was charged with arson with intent to endanger life.

The woman, who was aged in her 80s, died in a fire at Coolvoy, Doochary, Donegal on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Post mortem and a toxicology report had been outstanding in the case, but Gardaí have since been able to prepare a file on the matter.

At a previous sitting of the court, a judge granted a request to have a clinical psychologist carry out assessments on Lohse, who has now been passed fit to face trial.

Legal aid was extended to cover the visit of a German interpreter to liaise with Lohse in Castlerea Prison.

Judge Faughnan adjourned the case until September 12.

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