Tuesday 16 January 2018

Double killer free but must not contact victims' family

John Gallagher
( in 1988)
immediately to
be declared
insane after
killing his
Annie and her
mother Anne.
John Gallagher ( in 1988) moved immediately to be declared insane after killing his ex-girlfriend Annie and her mother Anne.
Since absconding from the Central Mental Hospital in 2000, he has lived in England and, more recently, Strabane ( in 2008).
John Gallagher's ex-girlfriend Annie (right) and her mother Anne

Greg Harkin

DOUBLE killer John Gallagher has been banned from contacting relatives of the two women he gunned down after being declared sane and freed yesterday.

The Co Donegal man walked out of the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin at 4pm, six weeks after surrendering there.

Gallagher, who killed mother and daughter Anne and Annie Gillespie in the grounds of Sligo Hospital in 1988, signed himself back into the hospital and immediately began steps to have himself declared legally sane.

Gallagher had absconded from the Central Mental Hospital in 2000.

He moved to England but in 2003 he returned to live in Strabane -- just a mile from his home in Lifford, Co Donegal.

Estranged relatives of John Gallagher were told of his pending release yesterday.

"We were contacted by gardai at 3pm and told he would be released at 5pm, but subsequently learned he was released just after 4 o'clock," said a family spokesperson.

The family members said they were told that Gallagher is now free to return unhindered to the Republic except for a number of conditions.

He is allowed to visit his mother at Post Office Lane in Lifford, and his father's grave.

However, he has been banned from having any contact with members of the Gillespie family or members of his own estranged family.

A spokesman for the Gallagher family said they are distraught at his release.

"This is an utter disgrace. We were given two hours' notice," said the spokesman.

"We have had no say, or we have not been able to put our case forward.

"We are living in complete fear of him and now he will be allowed to walk among us again.

"We do not think the authorities thought this through properly, and we have never been consulted on the matter," the spokesman added.

It's understood Gallagher plans to go to England "for a few weeks until the dust settles", according to security sources.

"It was advice given to him and he has taken that advice because tensions are running high in Strabane and Lifford," said one security source.

However, he does plan to continue living in Co Tyrone on his return, the source added.

Gallagher became infamous after he shot his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Anne Gillespie, and her mother Annie (51). He was furious that Anne had dumped him.

The then 22-year-old Gallagher was tried for murder but was found to be insane, a verdict which stunned the Gillespie family who have always believed he was sane when he carried out the killings.

After the case it emerged that Gallagher had tried to kill teenager Anne on at least three other occasions.

Irish Independent

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