Sunday 22 April 2018

Sligo pensioner murder accused breaks down in court

Hundreds of people from around the world donated to the fund set up after Mr Gillespie's death just over a week ago on September 22.

Greg Harkin

A FATHER of one accused of the killing of pensioner Eugene Gillespie sobbed in court when he faced a murder charge.

Simon McGinley (29), from Connaughton Road in Sligo, had gone voluntarily to gardai on Friday and had admitted the murder when he was charged, a special sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon District Court heard.

Mr Gillespie (67) died eight days ago, 24 hours after being found tied up and bleeding inside his home at Old Market Street in Sligo.

The popular local man was laid to rest on Saturday after funeral Mass at St Anne's Church in the town.

Yesterday, Mr McGinley sat staring at the floor in court, flanked by two gardai, as details of his arrest were given by Inspector Jim Delaney.

Dressed in jeans, a grey jumper and a blue casual jacket, Mr McGinley appeared to sob as the case was heard.

Inspector Jim Delaney told the court that when he cautioned and charged Mr McGinley with murder at 1.13am yesterday morning, the accused man had replied 'guilty'.

During cross-examination by defence lawyer Keith O'Grady, Insp Delaney confirmed that Mr McGinley had attended Sligo garda station voluntarily at 10.05pm on Friday.

"He was attended by a GP on two occasions after he exhibited signs of being distraught," said the inspector.

Mr O'Grady applied for his client to be attended by a psychiatrist and placed on suicide watch in custody.

Supt Mary Murray applied for a remand in custody to Harristown District Court next Friday.

Judge Kilraine granted this.


The judge asked Mr O'Grady if Mr McGinley had expressed suicidal intentions.

Mr O'Grady said he had and that there was a genuine fear on the part of his solicitor, Gerry McGovern.

He said Mr McGinley's mother was clearly of the view in light of the family background and certain family tragedies in recent years that he was a worry in terms of self-harm.

The judge said that it was his understanding that putting someone on suicide watch created its own difficulties for all parties.

He asked the Supt for her view on the application and she said she had no objection.

Judge Kilraine asked if there was a history of self-harm and was told that there was not by Mr O'Grady, but that there was a history of attendance with practitioners and that there was an event that was very relevant.

The judge said he was not going so far as to order a suicide watch but he ordered that Mr McGinley be immediately psychiatrically assessed and if it was deemed necessary by the doctor then he would be placed on suicide watch.

Mr McGinley hugged and kissed his mother and partner before being led from the court.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people attended Mr Gillespie's funeral on Saturday where they heard Fr Dominick Gillooly question the garda response to an anonymous tip-off that a man had been left tied up at a house near Sligo garda station.

Gardai had checked a house described in the call, but it wasn't the home of Mr Gillespie, who was only found the next day by relatives.

"So many people expressed disquiet and disbelief over a reported 999 call indicating a bound and tied victim in a designated area," said Fr Gillooly.

"That should surely have warranted a knock on every doorway to check about the well-being of all persons."

Irish Independent

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

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News