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Alleged arson attack ‘put baby’s life at risk’

Car Burnt out in Carrickmore

AN estranged husband has been charged with setting fire to his wife’s car outside her home in Carrickmore on Sunday night, while a baby aged just 24 days old was inside the building.

On Tuesday Omagh Magistrates Court heard that the woman, her mother and two children had to seek refuge in a local church.

Nerijus Karazinas (33) of Strule Park in Omagh was refused bail after he was charged with breaking windows at the woman’s home, burning a Ford Mondeo car and acting as a trespasser and stealing a purse.

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The court proceedings were related to the Lithuanian national through an interpreter.

When the charges were read, Karazines said he could not understand the trespassing and theft allegation.

District Judge Bernie Kelly said, “Burglary,” to which the defendant shook his head.

A police constable said he believed he could connect Karazines to the charges.

He told the court that police received a call on Sunday evening reporting that the woman and her mother and two children were in the house on the Creggan Road, Carrickmore and that her estranged husband had arrived in a drunken state.

Three witnesses said he smashed the rear windows in the house and set fire to the injured party’s car.  The occupants of the house fled to a local church.

When police officers arrived at the address they found the situation as described with a car on fire, broken windows and a “considerable” amount of blood in the house.

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The officer said the police then went to Karizanas’s address in Omagh and discovered a blood-stained petrol can on a seat in a car outside his home.

They found him inside on the floor unconscious with a lot of blood around him. The police also found the woman’s purse in his home. When interviewed Karizanas claimed he went to the home in Carrickmore totally sober and found the car on fire.

He said the windows were broken and he found the purse on the ground outside. He further claimed there was no-one in the house when he went inside.

Police objected to bail on the grounds that there have been two previous incidents reported by his wife this year. While they were not followed through by his wife, she said he made threats and assaulted her in January and arrived at her home intoxicated in April.

The defendant has one driving conviction in this jurisdiction and police are making enquiries to check whether he has committed offences in Lithuania.

Defence solicitor John McCaffrey acknowledged it was a “difficult” bail application to make because it was an allegation of a domestic incident and also due to the previous reports made by his wife.

He said his client’s employer was willing to move Karazinas from his workplace in Carrickmore to Coalisland and he has an address in Omagh away from the woman’s home.

Refusing bail, Judge Bernie Kelly said while there was a presumption of innocence she was taking into account the risk of further offences and the previous allegations.

She added the case “presented a picture of domestic violence with increasing intensity.”

Judge Kelly said, “It is so callous for anyone to set fire to a vehicle with the potential to explode in front of the house where a 24 day old baby was inside. This showed a complete disregard for life and limb.”

Karazinas was remanded in custody to appear before Omagh Magistrates Court by videolink on July 23.

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