Son who murdered mum should have been in custody: gardai
Published 13/08/2014 | 02:30
A man who killed his mother by stabbing her 19 times while high on drugs should have been in custody at the time.
A blunder by gardai meant Celyn Eadon (22) was free to commit murder, a report by the Inspector of Prisons, Judge Michael Reilly, reveals.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald described the debacle as “a serious breakdown at operational level” that “should not happen again”.
The report said disciplinary action was taken against a number of officers after they failed to act on a committal warrant issued by a court.
Less than a month after he should have been taken into custody by gardai, Eadon, of Castlebar, Co Mayo, killed his mother Noreen Kelly Eadon (46) in a frenzied attack after she burned drugs belonging to him,
He was jailed for life last February after a jury found him guilty of murder.
Judge Reilly was commissioned to investigate the affair by former justice minister Alan Shatter.
The judge’s report said Eadon, who was facing road traffic charges, was remanded in custody on February 16, 2011 at Castlebar District Court.
At the same sitting he was also remanded on bail on a separate theft charge. Despite the custody order, Eadon walked out of court and remained free until he was arrested for the murder of his mother on March 11.
Judge Reilly said garda authorities accepted they had received the committal warrant that was issued by the court.
Arising from the failure to execute the warrant, an internal investigation was conducted by a Garda chief superintendent.
Disciplinary proceedings were subsequently initiated by the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan against a number of officers.
Judge Reilly said that as his inquiry was not on a statutory footing and the gardai involved had already been subject to statutory disciplinary proceedings, he did not have the power to make findings about their conduct.
The judge found that staff at Castlebar District Court had followed proper procedures.
However, his report said the Courts Service did an in-depth analysis of its system of issuing warrants after the Eadon case and identified some areas that could be improved, leading to a new protocol being devised.
The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is currently examining garda practice, policy and procedure in relation to dealing with people who are committed to custody on remand by a court.
Ms Fitzgerald said she hoped to receive a report from GSOC "at an early stage".
"I very much regret the tragic situation that has occurred," she said.
At his trial, Eadon admitted manslaughter but denied murder, claiming prolonged drug abuse had caused brain damage and that such a mental disorder meant he had diminished responsibility for the killing.
His trial heard he had suffered hallucinations in the days before killing his mother, seeing aliens, fire, ants, demons and black smoke.
Eadon also started fires, both inside and outside their house.
The court heard his mother tried in vain to get help for him from both the gardai and the local hospital.