Tuesday 22 May 2018

Dumped wife-killer Joe O'Reilly gets two-hour prison visit from ex-lover

Exclusive: Nikki Pelley visits murderer at Arbour Hill prison despite split

Niki Pelley and inset Joe O'Reilly
Niki Pelley and inset Joe O'Reilly

Ian Begley

The long-term mistress of Joe O'Reilly has gone back to visit the notorious wife killer in prison, despite ending their 13-year relationship, Independent.ie can reveal.

Nikki Pelley (47), the woman who has stood by the murderer for the last 10 years while he has been locked up, spent two hours in Dublin's Arbour Hill prison on Saturday.

O'Reilly has not been coping well with the split.

It is believed the romance was brought to an end after O'Reilly (43) lost his chance of a final appeal against his conviction in November, and Nikki ended things after all hope of him getting out disappeared.

Nikki Pelley leaving Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin.
Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Nikki Pelley leaving Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin. Pic: Justin Farrelly.

However, these exclusive images, obtained by the Herald, show Pelley continuing to support the depressed killer, who she began seeing before he brutally battered his wife Rachel to death in their Dublin home.

Pelley refused to confirm the status of her relationship with O'Reilly when approached by the Herald.

However, it is understood that she recently informed him that the relationship was over in a letter.


Sources said that the killer has been keeping himself to himself since the split came to light.

"Joe has been hit badly by it and is spending more time in his cell than out and about," a source said.

"He doesn't have a lot of friends in Arbour Hill to lean on as it is."

Nikki Pelley leaving Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin.
Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Nikki Pelley leaving Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin. Pic: Justin Farrelly.

Pelley has been a loyal visitor to her former lover since he was jailed for life in 2007 for the murder of his wife in their home in Naul, Co Dublin, on October 4, 2004.

Pelley regularly travelled to Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, where O'Reilly was held until he was transferred to Arbour Hill in 2013.

Her most recent visit appeared to be no different as Pelley parked her black Hyundai car beside the entrance of Arbour Hill prison at around 1.30pm on Saturday.

Waiting there until exactly 2pm, Pelley quickly got out and made her way inside.

Dressed in a blue jacket and carrying a cream leather handbag, she stayed silent when asked about her relationship with O'Reilly.

At 4pm, when visiting hours ended, Pelley came out and briskly walked to her car before driving away.

Again she kept her silence as she made a swift exit.

Pelley and O'Reilly began a secret affair six months before the horrific murder took place.

During the 20-day trial Pelley admitted having a "sexual relationship" with O'Reilly while he was married to Rachel.

"We talked about things. We talked about our future, about being together," she said at the time.

O'Reilly also introduced her to his two children.

She was never a suspect for the crime, although she was twice arrested on suspicion she might have information that could be relevant.

Pelley was asked in court what names O'Reilly would call Rachel. She replied: "'Wasp' would be one of the words."

The court also heard that the wife-killer also referred to Pelley as "my beautiful bride-to-be".

O'Reilly has always denied any involvement in the murder.

However, details of crude emails sent by him revealed how he talked about his "lazy c***" of a wife and how his greatest fear was becoming "Mr Weekend Custody" when he left her for Pelley.

In July 2007, O'Reilly was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife.

The badly beaten body of Rachel O'Reilly was found in the bedroom of her home by her mother. Before he was charged with the murder, Joe had appeared as a guest on The Late Late Show to talk about her death.


Rachel died due to blunt-force trauma to the head, inhalation of blood, skull fracture and brain contusion.

O'Reilly later lost an appeal against his conviction and, in May 2015, the Court of Appeal refused his application to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice.

Lawyers for O'Reilly then applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal that decision.

Among various arguments, it was contended the Court of Appeal paid insufficient regard to O'Reilly's argument he did not sufficiently appreciate, at the time of the trial, the significance of the book of evidence, or any portion of it, being found in the jury room.

However, last November, the Supreme Court refused to permit O'Reilly a further appeal.

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