'Black Widow' McGinley who killed husband with her lover freed early from prison
Friends of a murdered man have expressed their shock and distress after a killer labelled the 'Black Widow' was released early from jail.
Mother-of-two Julie McGinley (43) was freed from Hydebank Women's Prison in Belfast at the start of the year and is understood to be living in the city.
McGinley - who was branded a "shrewd, devious and quick-witted" liar by a senior judge - was jailed for murdering her husband Gerry at their Fermanagh home in 2000 and buried him across the border.
She is known as a 'Phase 3' inmate, which means that although she is technically still a serving prisoner she is living permanently outside the prison in order to adapt to a normal life.
Until she is granted her full life licence next year, McGinley will be subjected to regular checks by the authorities at her new address.
Friends of murdered businessman Gerry McGinley (34) spoke of their shock at her release.
"The authorities should have kept Julie locked up until she served the full 15-year minimum term that she was sentenced to for murdering Gerry. It is very distressing for everyone who knew Gerry to find out she is walking the streets, having been freed early," a friend told the Sunday Life.
Before the murder, McGinley took out a £310,000 (€412,000) life insurance policy on her husband.
She paid a Real IRA terrorist to issue a death threat to her husband and then paid a £4,000 (€5,300) deposit to a hitman to shoot him.
However, the assassination bid fell through when she was unable to come up with the rest of the cash.
It was then that McGinley and lover Mick Monaghan (54) - who were also business partners and £76,000 (€100,990) in debt - decided to murder Gerry themselves.
In August 2000 Gerry was brutally attacked in bed while he slept at home in Coa near Enniskillen.
Sentencing McGinley and Monaghan to life with minimum 15-year terms, Mr Justice Kerr said: "The determination to carry out this murder was clearly callous and chilling, especially when one considers it had to be executed while two young girls (McGinley's daughters), scarcely more than infants, lay sleeping in the house."
McGinley has continued to claim she is innocent of the murder.
In a previous interview from behind bars she said: "To this day I still don't know exactly what happened in the bedroom.
"At no time did I plan to kill my husband or conspire to have him killed."