Saturday 29 April 2017

The killer, the will, and the €500k GUBU legacy

Former Attorney General leaves €100k to ex-partner of murderer Malcolm Macarthur

Connolly’s funeral (main); a closeup of Macarthur (inset left), former AG Patrick Connolly (inset right)
Connolly’s funeral (main); a closeup of Macarthur (inset left), former AG Patrick Connolly (inset right)
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Former Attorney General Patrick Connolly has left large legacies to the ex-partner and son of murderer Malcolm Macarthur, who was found hiding in his plush Dalkey apartment after a massive Garda manhunt in August 1982.

Mr Connolly, an eminent senior counsel, had left Ireland for a holiday in New York the following day, but was recalled by the then Taoiseach, Charles J Haughey, who described the events as "grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented" (GUBU).

Former AG Patrick Connolly
Former AG Patrick Connolly

Macarthur had brutally murdered nurse Bridie Gargan when stealing her car in the Phoenix Park, then lured Donal Dunne to his death some days later on the pretext of buying a shotgun from him, which he then used to kill the Co Offaly farmer.

According to Mr Connolly's will, which was filed in the Probate Office in Dublin last week, Macarthur's former partner, Brenda Little, has been left €100,000 in cash and Mr Connolly's interest in an apartment on Sallymount Ave, Ranelagh, Dublin. Two-bed apartments in that area command prices of more than €300,000.

Ms Little's son with Macarthur, Colin Little, who became a close friend of Mr Connolly, was left €75,000 in cash and Mr Connolly's "collection of cigarette trade cards and pictures".

Patrick Connolly, of Carnsore, Pilot View, Dalkey, Co Dublin, who died on January 7, 2016, left estate valued at €3,318,897.

Killer Malcolm Macarthur pictured during his trial
Killer Malcolm Macarthur pictured during his trial

Despite returning to practise at the Bar, Mr Connolly was always remembered for the events surrounding the capture of Macarthur on August 13, 1982, after a nine-day manhunt.

During that time, he had brought the killer to the All-Ireland final as his guest and the fugitive had shaken hands with then Garda Commissioner Patrick McLaughlin during the half-time interval.

The trial of Macarthur in January 1983 was extremely short and equally controversial, as he pleaded guilty to the murder of Ms Gargan, but charges of murdering Mr Dunne were dropped.

When the prosecution offered to outline the facts of the case, the trial judge said this was not necessary and the entire proceedings were over in an estimated seven minutes.

A closeup of Macarthur
A closeup of Macarthur

Mr Connolly was called to the Bar in 1949 and built up a lucrative commercial practice. He never married but was very close to his extended family.

He never spoke about the dramatic events of 1982, but his funeral Mass in Dalkey was told that he kept a meticulous diary throughout his life.

Macarthur was released from prison in September 2012 and lives in south Co Dublin.

According to his will, Mr Connolly left bequests of €10,000 to the Bar Benevolent Council, Concern, and the Society of St Vincent de Paul. He also left €2,000 to the priest in Dalkey for Masses to be said for his soul.

Connolly’s funeral. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Connolly’s funeral. Photo: Steve Humphreys

In the will dated December 19, 2000, he also left €100,000 each to a nephew and two nieces, and €75,000 to another named beneficiary.

The residue of his estate was left to his brother, Anthony, who has since died.

Sunday Independent

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