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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Garda-killer freed after serving just 14 days for escape

Martin McDermott served four years for killing Gda McLoughlin
Martin McDermott served four years for killing Gda McLoughlin
Garda Gary McLoughlin, who was killed in 2009

Greg Harkin

A Garda-killer celebrated his release with friends last night, after being given just 14 days extra behind bars for escaping from prison.

Martin McDermott was released from the Midlands Prison four years into a seven-year sentence for killing Garda Gary McLoughlin in Co Donegal in 2009.

Plans for a party in the home of a friend of McDermott's in Raphoe were thwarted, however. Around a dozen local people gathered in the town, making it clear they were unhappy with his return.

They left after two hours, having been given assurances the 29-year-old would not return to the area last night.

Garda McLoughlin died in hospital 24 hours after McDermott, who had 91 previous convictions, rammed his patrol car in Burt in December 2009.

The native of Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, was just 24 years old.

Garda Gary McLoughlin, who was killed in 2009
Garda Gary McLoughlin, who was killed in 2009

McDermott was speeding towards Derry when he steered his stolen Opel Astra into Garda McLoughlin's patrol car.

He was jailed for seven years in July 2011 after being found guilty of manslaughter.

There was uproar when he escaped from the low-security open prison at Loughan House in Co Cavan just eight months later.

He had just 14 days added to his prison sentence for that escape.

Garda colleagues have reacted with anger to news of his release from prison, 21 months early.

Garda Brendan O'Connor, who is the Donegal representative for the Garda Representative Association (GRA), called for specialist legislation to protect gardaí when they are in the line of duty.

"My first thoughts are with the McLoughlin family, who are still mourning the loss of a beloved son and brother, and also with Gary's colleagues and friends at Buncrana Garda Station where he was based," said Garda O'Connor.

"Mr McDermott is returning to his family but Gary's family will never have him back."

He added: "The fact that a convicted garda killer, who had 91 previous convictions, walked out of an open prison, left the jurisdiction and assaulted a police officer while unlawfully at large, only to receive an additional 14 days sentence for these actions validates our assertions that current legislation does not provide a sufficient deterrent to protect our members."

Irish Independent

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