Saturday 21 April 2018

A lifetime behind bars - the killers who are our longest-serving prisoners

MURDERERS: Geoffrey Evans, pictured, and John Shaw are taken to a court hearing after their arrest in 1976. The two Englishmen were given mandatory life sentences in 1978. Photo: Courtpix
MURDERERS: Geoffrey Evans, pictured, and John Shaw are taken to a court hearing after their arrest in 1976. The two Englishmen were given mandatory life sentences in 1978. Photo: Courtpix
MURDERERS: Geoffrey Evans and John Shaw, pictured, are taken to a court hearing after their arrest in 1976. The two Englishmen were given mandatory life sentences in 1978. Photo: Courtpix
Mary Duffy, who was raped and murdered by Shaw and Evans

John Shaw has spent the past 42 years in jail and is Ireland's longest-serving prisoner.

He was arrested in 1976 with his accomplice Geoffrey Evans for the torture, rape and murder of two young women.

The two Englishmen, who had several criminal convictions in England, set in motion an evil plan to rape and murder young women in Ireland.

They abducted Dublin woman Elizabeth Plunkett (22) in Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow in 1976. They raped and murdered her and dumped her body in the sea. Her remains were found later on the Wexford coast.

A month after their first killing, they abducted Mary Duffy (24) in Castlebar, Co Mayo. She was held captive in a tent and raped repeatedly before being murdered. They dumped her body in Lough Inagh in Co Galway.

The killers were arrested in a stolen car in Salthill, Co Galway, and both were later convicted of murder in 1978 and given life sentences.

Shaw reportedly told a detective they had planned to rape and kill a woman every month.

Evans died behind bars in 2012.

Jimmy Ennis holds the record for the longest time spent in prison for a crime.

He spent 52 years in prison. He was 35 when convicted of murdering a farmer during a robbery in 1964.

He was released two years ago. He always refused to apply for release, explaining that he preferred to continue working in the Shelton Abbey prison garden. He did odd jobs for locals, returning to prison at night.

Ennis, a farm labourer from Co Kildare, was carrying out a burglary at the home of former employer George Applebe at Watergrasshill, Co Cork, when he struck him with a iron bar and killed him.

The judge said he would have imposed a death sentence but it was abolished by the Criminal Justice Act 1964.

Sunday Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News