Friday 22 September 2017

Double killer who fled from custody has case adjourned

Tom Tuite

A JUDGE has deferred ruling on whether a prosecution brought against double killer John Gallagher for absconding from custody should be struck out.

Gallagher (46), who killed mother and daughter Annie and Anne Gillespie in the grounds of Sligo Hospital in 1988, was released from the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) in Dundrum in Dublin on June 29 last, six weeks after giving himself up.

He was found guilty but insane at his trial in 1989 and had absconded in 2000 after spending 12 years at the facility.

His release in June came with a number of conditions but he has been allowed to visit his mother at her home at Post Office Lane in Lifford, Co Donegal.

A summons for absconding from custody had been issued after he originally left the CMH in 2000.

In July this year, the DPP authorised another one, by which time he had been released from the facility and he is now living with his wife and children in the North, in Strabane in Co Tyrone.

His prosecution for absconding from custody was before Dublin District Court . He was not in the courtroom but Judge Catherine Murphy was told that he was "close by".

Garda Sergeant Ivan Howlin told Judge Murphy that on July 7, he and colleague Garda Michael Lynch travelled to Lifford to serve the summons on Gallagher but he was not present.

Sgt Howlin said some of the Gallaghers still live there and a business operates at Post Office Lane. He also thought John Gallagher still had links to the family's transport business.

He said he spoke to Christopher Gallagher, the accused's brother, for about half an hour. He said Christopher made a phone call and assured him that he would give the summons to John Gallagher.

He said the summons was in an envelope, which was left with Christopher.

Christopher Gallagher told the court that he did not know what the envelope contained. He said John Gallagher regularly comes over the Border to visit their mother but added that he has no connections with any Gallagher business operating out Post Office Lane.

Defence solicitor Dara Robinson argued that the summons was not correctly served in accordance with the District Court's rules.

He said the Lifford address is no longer John Gallagher's home or place of work and he asked the court to strike out the case.

Judge Murphy said she would give her decision next week.

Irish Independent

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