Saturday 18 November 2017

John Gallagher is still mad and bad, says brother

John Gallagher: fled in 2000
John Gallagher: fled in 2000
John Gallagher with then girlfriend Anne Gillespie, whom he shot dead along with her mother Annie Gillespie in 1988
Anne Gillespie with her mother Annie
John Gallagher
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

DOUBLE killer John Gallagher -- who was on the run for 12 years after absconding from a mental hospital -- is a menace to society and is beyond redemption, according to his brother.

An emotional Donal Gallagher (49) spoke for the first time last night since his notorious brother turned himself in to the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin last week in an apparent bid to be declared sane.

Fighting back tears as he spoke to Colette Fitzgerald on TV3's 'Midweek' show last night, the married father of four, from Strabane, Co Tyrone, said his brother was "mad and bad" and would never change.

"John wants to be free," he said. "John wants out. John never showed (any) remorse. You can't change the spots on a leopard," he warned.

"John was mad. John was bad, bad you know. John has blanked it out. He hasn't had to live with it. John can just seem to just switch off."

Donal Gallagher said his family has been through hell since his brother -- a 46-year-old native of Lifford, Co Donegal -- was found guilty but insane of the 1988 fatal shooting of his former girlfriend Anne Gillespie (18) and her mother Annie Gillespie (52) in the grounds of Sligo General Hospital when they were visiting a relative.

John Gallagher, who was 22 at the time, flew into a rage after Miss Gillespie broke off their relationship.

After shooting the mother and daughter, he then turned the gun on businessman Patrick Maguire who witnessed the shooting.

But the gun jammed, saving Mr Maguire's life

Mr Maguire said he feared John Gallagher would come after him to "finish it".

John Gallagher was sent to the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin following his trial but fled to England during an outing in 2000.


He was located in Oxford but because he was not convicted of a crime in Ireland or the UK he could not be extradited.

He then moved to Strabane in 2004, just miles away where his victims lived in the twin towns of Ballybofey and Stranorlar in Co Donegal, where local residents still live in fear of his return.

John Gallagher is believed to have applied to the Criminal Law Mental Health Review Board which could declare him sane and order his release.

His elder brother Francis Gallagher also fears that John Gallagher is planning to mount a legal challenge to move back to the family home in Lifford in order to stake a claim on it.

"He has told us, 'I will sort you when Lifford is sorted. Not one of you will sleep in peace'," he told the Irish Independent last week.

Donal Gallagher added that his notorious brother was violent towards his parents and gave his father a two-fingered salute days before the killings.

Irish Independent

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