Man accused of arson attack granted bail

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A man accused of an arson attack on a block of flats has been granted bail.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard allegations that 23-year-old Joseph Gallagher set fire to a top flat in Bayview Terrace, while four children under the age of 16 were in the flat below.

Gallagher, of Glenvale Road, is charged with arson endangering life on June 5.

The court was told the fire service attended the fire and concluded it was deliberate.

Entry had been forced to the top flat to start the fire and there was extensive damage caused.

Gallagher handed himself into police two days after the fire.

During police interview, he said he had little memory of what happened but was ‘adamant that he used matches to set the fire’.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer told the court police feared Gallagher will commit further offences.

She added the defendant had issues with alcohol and substance misuse.

Defence solicitor Leonie Keegan said her client wished to address these issues if he was granted bail.

District Judge Barney McElholm granted bail and warned the 23-year-old if he breached the bail conditions he could ‘expect to be sent straight back into custody’.

Gallagher was released on his own bail of £750 and banned from entering Bayview Terrace.

He is also banned from consuming alcohol and non-prescribed drugs.

He will appear in court again on October 29.