Saturday 17 March 2018

Double-killer John Gallagher in street clash with brother

Greg Harkin

GARDAI have launched an investigation after an altercation between a double killer and his estranged brother.

John Gallagher and his brother Donal have given separate statements to gardai following an incident in Lifford, Co Donegal.

The Irish Independent has learnt that they have reported different versions of the events, which took place just after 9am on Saturday.

John Gallagher was found guilty but insane of murdering his ex-girlfriend Anne Gillespie (18) and her mother Annie (51), who were shot dead in Sligo in 1988.

He later absconded from the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin, but returned to hand himself in last May. He has since been freed and now lives in Strabane, Co Tyrone, a mile from his native Lifford.

Under the terms of his release, he is allowed to visit his mother's home in Lifford.

It was during a visit on Saturday morning that a confrontation with his older brother occurred.

Donal Gallagher has claimed his brother pulled in and parked right behind him at a garage on the northern side of the Border.

Another confrontation allegedly followed in Lifford's Main Street a few minutes later.

Donal Gallagher said: "I was in fear of my life. There is no other way of putting it.

"I picked up the nearest thing I could find, which I think was a stone and threw it at him. I managed to jump in my car then and get away."

Mr Gallagher said he later gave a statement to gardai at Lifford garda station.

However, it is understood his brother has also given a statement to gardai, denying any provocative role in the incident.


"There are conflicting views of the incidents," said a source.

"The Gallagher brothers have given different accounts of what happened."

It is understood officers will examine CCTV footage to see what it shows.

John Gallagher absconded from the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum while on day release in 2000.

He moved to England, but in 2003 he returned to live in Strabane.

Gardai could not extradite him because he was an escaped psychiatric patient who was innocent of murder in the eyes of the law.

He returned to the Central Mental Hospital earlier this year and was released four weeks later.

Sources say gardai are "extremely worried" about Saturday's development.

Relatives of Gallagher's victims have always insisted he was sane, despite the verdict at his trial.

A garda spokesperson said: "We do not comment on incidents involving named individuals."

Irish Independent

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