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Garda's family 'distressed' by fact killer was in open prison

THE family of a young garda killed by a notorious criminal were "extremely distressed" that he was being kept in an open prison, a leading officer revealed yesterday.

Garda Gary McLoughlin (24) was killed when repeat offender Martin McDermott drove his car at the officer's patrol vehicle in Co Donegal in December 2009.

McDermott (26), from Raphoe, was convicted of manslaughter last July and sentenced to seven years in prison but escaped earlier this month from Loughan House in Co Cavan.

He was re-arrested in the North where he was sentenced this week to four months in jail for assaulting PSNI officers during his capture.

Uproar

There has been uproar from gardai over how McDermott ended up in the Co Cavan prison, normally reserved for low-risk offenders.

It is less than an hour's drive from Gda McLoughlin's family home in Fenagh, Co Leitrim.

Yesterday Supt Kevin English, Gda McLoughlin's superior in Buncrana, became the first senior officer to talk about the decision to place McDermott in an open prison regime and revealed neither he nor any other member of the force had been consulted by the Irish Prison Service.

"I personally called to the McLoughlin family last Monday. I found them very distressed," Supt English told Highland Radio.

"They felt very let down by the justice system in that they fail to understand how a person convicted of manslaughter was allowed to be placed in a low security prison."

Irish Independent