independent

Friday 29 August 2014

Prison source denies murderer to be freed

NEWSPAPER CLAIMS RELEASE FOR KILLER FORTUNE

ESTHER HAYDEN

Published 14/11/2012 | 11:14

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REPORTS IN a Sunday newspaper that Wicklow killer Brian Fortune will soon be released from Arbour Hill have been denied.

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Double murderer Fortune, one of Ireland's longest serving prisoners, was jailed for life in 1986 for the brutal murder of 64year-old Margaret Nolan of Kilbride.

He was never sentenced for the murder of her daughter Anne (24) after a plea agreement.

Now 45 years old Fortune was a mere 18 years old when he committed the brutal and horrific murders of two women who had showed him nothing but kindness.

Despite reports of his imminent release one source close to the prison service said he was 'not aware that the Minister had made any decision' relating to Brian Fortune'.

Prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment can only ever receive tempoary release and any breach of the release condictions would see them locked up again.

On November 27, 1985 the double murder of widow Margaret Nolan and her daughter Anne in Kilbride sent shockwaves through the country.

Fortune from Wicklow, a farm labourer was arrested and charged with the barbaric crime.

Margaret Nolan had once employed the unassuming Fortune.

The body of Anne Nolan was found badly beaten and strangled in the pantry of the house while the body of her mother was discovered in the sitting room of the house.

Both had been strangled and were seminaked.

Details of the horrific crime were never heard in open court and at the time of Fortune's sentencing in 1986 his defence counsel, the now High Court Judge, Mr. Justice Barry White, asked the judge to spare the Nolan family from hearing the facts saying Fortune 'is anxious not to cause further anxiety to the relations of the deceased or his own family'.

As a result and a prior plea agreement the sentencing hearing that lasted only minutes and Fortune was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Margaret Nolan.

Inquests into the deaths of Margaret and Anne showed both women died from asphyxia caused by strangulation.

Anne had bruising to the face, neck and body and showed signs of a struggle consistent with a violent physical and sexual assault while Margaret's body was 'remarkably injury free' according to the then state pathologist Dr. John Harbison who said this indicated little or no struggle had taken place.

However, she had 'internal bleeding from possible violent sexual intercourse'.

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