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Wednesday 18 September 2019

'He should never have been free to kill my husband' - widow of man murdered by criminal on bail

Shawna and Geraldine Byrne Pic:Mark Condren
Shawna and Geraldine Byrne Pic:Mark Condren

Eamon Dillon

THE heartbroken widow of murder victim Dermot Byrne has hit out at the justice system after learning his killer committed the savage crime while on bail for a violent robbery.

“He should have been locked up – so many other people wouldn’t have been hurt,” Dermot’s widow Geraldine said.

In October, Anthony Walsh received a life sentence for killing Mr Byrne in a savage attack in Swords in July 2017.

Last week it emerged that the killer had subjected an 18-year-old student and her pal to a shocking ordeal in a Co Kerry robbery five months earlier.

Anthony Walsh. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Anthony Walsh. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Walsh was given bail and went on to commit more crimes, including the senseless and brutal murder of Mr Byrne.

Shocking images of Walsh attacking a man in Dublin city centre just two days before the murder show how the thug was completely out of control.

He punched his victim several times and kicked him in the head as he lay on the floor of a casino.

Eventually a doorman managed to manhandle Walsh out of the premises.

“He should have been locked up,” said Geraldine.

“He had a string of convictions against him and he was still let out.

“With all those convictions, people like him shouldn’t be let out on the streets,” said Geraldine.

“He was a violent man and he’ll always be a violent man. He was born evil,” she told the Sunday World.

The trial also proved to be another ordeal for the family as they listened to the proceedings.

“Even in court, there was no remorse,” said Geraldine.

“Before the jurors would come in, he’d look at us in the face and smirk.”

Meanwhile, daughter Shawna said: “They dragged my dad’s name through the dirt in the courts.

“It felt like my dad was on trial.”

The brutal nature of the attack only became apparent as details of how Mr Byrne died emerged during the trial.

“To find out it wasn’t just ‘one punch and run away’, that he stood there, even when a passer-by went by, he was still doing it to Dermot, lying on the ground, taking his last breath,” said Geraldine.

“He also showed a presence of mind to take whatever forensic evidence he thought was on Dermot and steal his bank card, so he had to have gone through his wallet. He took the time to do all this.”

In October, Walsh, who had 78 previous convictions, was found guilty of the murder of Mr Byrne by a unanimous jury verdict.

The court heard that 31-year-old Walsh inflicted more than 100 injuries on Mr Byrne during a sustained attack.

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