Mikey and Thelma Dennany

Woman given two life sentences for murder of her two children in Westmeath car fire last year

Lynn Egar was charged with the murders of Thelma (5) and Michael Dennany (2) on 9 September 2022.

A 49-YEAR-OLD woman has pleaded guilty to the murder of her two children, aged two and five, amid emotional scenes at the Central Criminal Court today. 

Thelma Dennany (5) and her little brother Mikey Dennany (2) died after their mother Lynn Egar set fire to the car in which they were sitting.

Lynn Egar (49) with an address of Winetown, Rathowen, County Westmeath, was charged with the murders of Thelma (5) and Michael ‘Mikey’ Dennany (2) at Lackan, Multyfarnham on 9 September 2022.

Their mother was in the passenger seat and was pulled to safety by a passerby and suffered only “minimal burns”, the court heard.

Michael Dennany, the father of both children, wrote a statement for the court that was read by Detective Inspector Thomas Quinn.

Dennany wrote that the births of his two children were the happiest days of his life. Holding Thelma for the first time, he said, was the “most terrifying” moment but he was the “happiest man alive, I was smitten.”

When Mikey arrived two and a half years later, Thelma became “the best big sister ever, she wanted to do everything for him. From the moment they met they were stuck together like glue: Fearless, mischievous partners in crime.”

The day that they died, Dennany had planned to go collecting chestnuts with his children after school. “We never got to do that,” he said. “Their daddy should have been there to protect them. When they needed me the most, I was useless.”

“When I left them that morning they were asleep, I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye… I used to come home to a busy home full of noise and toys and love. The toys are still there but not the noise or the love… Just heartache and despair.”

He said he had hoped to see his children through school and “at a push to see them married, but I never thought I would bury them… The only comfort I have is that they are together forever.”

He also said how money he had saved to build an extension on their home so the children could have their own room was instead spent on burying them.

“I am nothing now but an empty shell. There’s no purpose to life. I don’t belong anywhere. I am an outsider looking in,” he told the court.

Lynn Egar also wrote a letter which was read out by her barrister Sean Gillane. She apologised to everyone she had hurt, for the “pain, horror and suffering” she had caused to her family and to her two “gorgeous children”.

“Looking back, there were other avenues I could and should have travelled,” she wrote. “I’m full of regret.”

With a barely audible whisper, Egar pleaded guilty this morning when the two charges were put to her.

When asked by Mr Justice Paul McDermott if psychiatric reports had been sought in relation to “a particular course of action” prior to Eagar entering her guilty plea, her defendant’s barrister said he had been instructed “not to put anything of that nature before you”.

At the end of the hearing, the judge imposed a life sentence for each of the two murders.

“I can only express my commiserations to everyone concerned and to all who loved and cherished Thelma and Mikey,” he said.

The judge also said that the court is “not a place where the devastation and loss and grief that is clearly caused by these offences can in any way be diminished”.

“Life is precious and these two young lives, these two children have lost theirs, causing the utter loss and grief which has been expressed and is evident from those who knew and loved these children and engaged with them during their short lives.”

The judge explained that his jurisdiction is limited to the “mandatory sentence of life which I now impose. It will do little to reduce the suffering and loss of those here but that is the order of the court.”

He imposed a life sentence in respect of each count of murder.

Outside court, Garda Martina Walsh read out a statement on behalf of the family, which said: “Thelma and Michael were happy fun-loving children overflowing with love and mischief. Had they grown up they might have changed the world because they changed ours.

“Their absence has cast a shadow on our lives. That shadow is testament to the brightness of their light. We are utterly lost without them.”