THE trial has started of four brothers accused of the double murder of a couple seven years ago when they burned to death in a house arson attack.
Martin, Niall, Christopher and Stephen Smith all stand accused of the murders of Thomas O’Hare and Lisa McClatchey near Tassagh, Co Armagh.
They died after their remote cottage was set alight and engulfed in flames.
Crown counsel Toby Hedworth QC told the trial at Armagh Crown Court that the brothers wanted to punish Thomas O’Hare for something he had done years before.
In April 1998, Thomas O’Hare pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting three children in the late 1980s.
At the time, he would have been about 17.
Mr Hedworth said the prosecution case would be that on the night of the murders the four brothers, all masked and carrying sledgehammers, burst into the home Mr O’Hare shared with Ms McClatchey.
He said they beat Mr O’Hare, then doused the house with petrol and set it alight.
He gave an account of the night in question and the terrible injuries suffered by the couple, who died days later.
The Smith brothers too suffered burns that night.
It is the prosecution case, said Mr Hedworth that these were sustained during the same incident.
The jury trial continues.