Gillane guilty of plot
Published 09/12/1997 | 00:11
PATRICK GILLANE has been found guilty of soliciting two men to murder his wife and has been remanded in custody for sentence on Monday.
The jury of eight women and four men took just 90 minutes to unanimously convict him after a six-day trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Gillane (34) of Glenbrack, Gort, Co Galway had pleaded not guilty to soliciting Christopher Bolger and Michael Doyle in Dublin on a date unknown in January 1994 to murder his wife. In evidence he denied the charge.
The maximum sentence that can be imposed by Judge Joseph Mathews on this charge is 10 years in jail.
Mrs Philomena Gillane's body was found in the boot of her car at Athlone railway station on May 19 1994 about a week after she was reported missing. She had been shot and stabbed.
The jury was told by prosecuting counsel Edward Comyn and Judge Mathews that for an accused to be found guilty of soliciting someone to commit a murder there was no necessity for the murder to have been carried out. It was sufficient for the jury to be satisfied the offence of soliciting someone to commit a murder had happened.
The trial also heard evidence from Gillane and his sister-in-law Ms Bridie Gordon that they had a sexual relationship both before and after his marriage.
This included visits to the Rose of Tralee Festival and a three-day sojourn in Lisdoonvarna in September 1993.
Bridie's sister Philomena was pregnant before her marriage to defendant in Knock, Co Mayo on April 30 1993. Their son was born on August 8 1993.
Both Gillane and Ms Gordon claimed in evidence the other was the driving force in their affair. Ms Gordon claimed she ended the affair around October 1993 when she began a new relationship, and Gillane said he ended it around December 1993 after he revealed it to his wife.
He also claimed his late mother-in-law, Mrs Nonie Gordon of Beechlawn House, Caltra, Ballinasloe, was aware of the affair he had with Bridie.
Mrs Gordon collapsed and died from a heart attack just before she was due to be the first witness when Gillane's trial originally began at Galway Circuit Court. The trial was then transferred to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court at the request of his legal team.
Gillane was identified by Mr Bolger and Mr Doyle as the man who drove up to them in a car on a Sunday afternoon in January 1994 and asked them to murder someone. They said they recognised him from a photo in the Irish Independent and on an RTE television news programme in May 1994.
Mr Bolger said Gillane asked them to kill ``a woman who worked in a hospital'' while Mr Doyle told the jury he asked them to murder ``his wife.''
Defence counsel Eamonn Leahy argued in his closing speech to the jury that Gillane should be acquitted on the evidence of Mr Bolger alone. He said Mr Bolger had described the man who approached them as having a moustache and hazel eyes.
The evidence from Gillane himself to the jury on the fifth day of the trial that he never had a moustache in his life and had blue eyes was unrebutted and unchallenged by the prosecution and was therefore a fact, added Mr Leahy.
There were other contradictions in the prosecution case which called for the acquittal of his client.
There was also the fact the name of Philomena Gillane was never mentioned by anyone as the person allegedly to be murdered.
Mr Leahy said both Mr Bolger and Mr Doyle first told gardai the man who approached them asked them to kill ``a woman.'' Later Mr Doyle claimed the man asked them to kill his wife while Mr Bolger throughout his evidence insisted the man said it was ``a woman who worked in a hospital.''
In his evidence on the third day of the hearing, Mr Doyle said he thought the request to kill someone was ``a big joke.'' They asked Gillane why he wanted the woman killed and he replied it was because she was threatening to take everything he had.
The jury heard evidence from publican Mrs Kathleen Bergin of Mountbellew, Co Galway that during a row between Gillane and his wife in December 1993 she heard Mrs Gillane threaten her husband she would take everying he had. Mrs Gillane also struck her husband when he refused to go home with her.
Both Mr Doyle and Mr Bolger said they told Gillane they would not murder any woman for him and he drove off in the Galway direction, saying they were ``no f----n good'' to him. Neither man paid any more attention to the matter until the publicity surrounding Mrs Gillane's death the following May.
Ms Gordon told the trial she first met Gillane in 1992 when he called to their home to bring Philomena to a wedding.
The couple lived at the Gordon house after the marriage. ``I had no say in that,'' Ms Gordon told the jury.
Ms Gordon agreed with Mr Comyn she began a relationship with accused before he married her sister. Asked by Mr Comyn it it was a sexual relationship, Ms Gordon at first refused to answer but when pressed said: ``Yes. He kept pestering me and forcing himself on me.''
He continually asked her to go again to Lisdoonvarna with him but she didn't. Their affair stopped in October 1993 when she began going out with another man.
Ms Gordon told the trial her sister became aware of the affair with Gillane in December 1993. ``He came in this night drunk and nearly broke down the door. He told Philomena about his relationship with me and caused a big row.''
In her evidence she recalled Gillane saying on a Sunday in January 1994 he was going to Limerick to buy tyres for his tractor. In his evidence Gillane agreed he travelled to Dublin that day but denied meeting Mr Bolger or Mr Doyle.
Gardai said that after arrest Gillane told detectives of ``the good times'' he had with Bridie Gordon and claimed she wanted him to leave Philomena to go with her. He said she ``gave out'' to him for marrying Philomena.