A mother has appeared in court charged with the murder of her two children in Co Westmeath, Ireland, after they died in a car fire.
Lynn Egar, 48, was charged with murdering her five-year-old daughter Thelma Dennany and two-year-old son Michael Dennany on a rural road at Lacken, Multyfarnham.
A truck driver discovered Egar’s car, which had not crashed, engulfed in flames with the mother and two children inside on September 9.
Thelma and Michael – known by family and friends as Mikey – both died in the fire, while Egar was pulled out of the burning car by the truck driver before being airlifted to hospital with serious injuries.
Egar appeared in Mullingar District Court on Thursday and sat with her head bowed during the five-minute hearing.
Lynn Egar, 48, was charged with murdering her five-year-old daughter Thelma Dennany and two-year-old son Michael Dennany on a rural road at Lacken, Multyfarnham
Lynn Egar, 48, (centre with her face covered by a hoody) has been charged with murdering her children
Thelma and Michael (pictured together) – known by family and friends as Mikey – both died in the fire, while Egar was pulled out of the burning car by the truck driver before being airlifted to hospital
Egar, 48, covers her face as she appears in court charged with murdering her two children
Detective Sergeant David Donnelly told the court that Egar was charged with two counts of murder shortly before 8pm on Thursday. He said that the mother made no reply after she was charged.
District Judge Bernadette Owens granted solicitor Damien Coffey’s application for legal aid after he handed over a statement of Egar’s means.
Judge Owens said that any application for bail is a matter for the High Court.
Egar was seen covering her face and head with her maroon-coloured zipped hoody as she was led away from the court room and placed in a car by officers.
She was remanded to the Dochas Centre, the women’s section at Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, and will appear before Athlone District Court next Wednesday via video link.
Thelma and Mikey were buried together in a single coffin on 15 September, as mourners at St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford heard that the siblings were ‘inseparable’.
Father Sean Casey, parish priest of Killoe, Co Longford, told those gathered that Thelma and Mikey were ‘vibrant’ children.
Thelma and Mikey both died in the car fire, as their mother is charged with their murder
Thelma and Mikey were buried together in a single coffin on 15 September, as mourners at St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford heard that the siblings were ‘inseparable’
Thelma and her brother Mikey loved exploring together
The priest described Thelma, who was a pupil at Saint Cremin’s National School in Multyfarnham, as a ‘lovely girl, always smiling’.
He said her little brother Mikey was enrolled in Toddlers and Waddlers pre-school in Rathowen and that they loved to explore together.
Symbols of their lives were brought to the altar, including artwork and a collage from Thelma’s primary school, artwork by Mikey at his pre-school and their fishing rods.
Father Casey said there was a ‘special place in our hearts’ for the children’s friends in pre-school and school, as well as their minders and teachers.
‘Thelma and Mikey were vibrant children,’ he told mourners.
‘They were inseparable in life. In the words of their dad, Michael, the only thing that separated them was school as they went their separate ways each morning.
‘Thelma attended dancing classes and football training — Mikey always came to watch her training from the sideline.
‘On Saturday week last, he ventured onto the pitch for the first time to join her in the sport she loved.
‘They loved to run and laugh and feel the wind in their hair and to pick wild flowers. They looked forward to trying out their fishing rods.’
Thelma and Mikey’s father, Michael Dennany, is seen next to the children’s coffin on September 15 in Co Westmeath
He also told those gathered: ‘We do not know how these tragedies occurred, we do know they were deeply loved.’
Father Casey also read a message from the family, which said: ‘We the family would like to thank everyone for helping us to say farewell to Thelma and Mikey.
‘We say farewell because with the memories they left us through their short lives and their infectious smiles, they will be with us forever.
‘Your heartfelt sympathy and offers of help have touched us greatly at this very difficult time. Once again, we thank you all.’
Post-mortem examinations on the bodies of both children by the state pathologist Dr Sally Ann Collis have concluded, but Gardai said they will not release the results for operational reasons.
Fr John O’Brien, of Multyfarnham Franciscan Abbey, said there is a ‘deep sadness’ in the village.
‘There is a terrible feeling of sadness, like a cloud coming down on us. There is a feeling of being dazed and confused, what do we say? How do we come to terms with this?’ Fr O’Brien told RTE Morning Ireland.
‘This sense of unreality we have to face this terrible tragedy.
‘Did this really happen? The two little kids are dead. There is an overwhelming feeling of sadness, disbelief and not being able to find the words.
‘People are meeting informally. Mothers are talking about it and they are worried about their kids going to school and how they will face the news.
‘It will be hard on the teachers and very hard on the little ones who have to face this sense of grief and loss.
‘I can’t find the words, but just sitting with someone and listening to how they feel and their confusion, in that way we create a healing spirit between us.
‘We have to do that and do it for each other in the community. We are in shock, it is simply unbelievable.
‘We don’t have a magic wand to take away the tears, we have to sit and be with somebody. It is a lonely time for everybody.
‘It has been a tremendous shock.’