Saturday 24 February 2018

No one knows if he'll strike again -- witness

Mark O'Regan

"NOBODY knows if he'll strike again. Nobody knows with these type of people what way their mind is," the only witness to the killing of nurse Bridie Gargan said yesterday.

With infamous murderer Malcolm Macarthur expected to be released from prison in the near future after serving 29 years in jail, the only witness to the killing in the Phoenix Park some 30 years ago last night issued this stark warning.

Gardener Paddy Byrne, from Cabra in Dublin, said Macarthur was likely to face a ferocious media and public backlash, similar to what Larry Murphy experienced after being released from Arbour Hill Prison for the rape and attempted murder of a woman in the Wicklow mountains 11 years ago.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Mr Byrne recalled his time working as a gardener at the American ambassador's residence on the day of the Gargan killing.

He recalls a bearded man "hopping from tree to tree", which aroused his suspicion.

When he tried to intervene and save the nurse, Macarthur threatened him with a gun, warning him to "back off or I'll put a bullet in you".

"Getting back into normal life is going to be difficult for Macarthur. Just how well he's prepared to face the outside world is the question," he said.

Mr Byrne says he suffered deep psychological scars for some time after the killing, but has managed to come to terms with his trauma.

"I got over it eventually. I had to get on with life and thank God I got over it," he said.

But he stressed that what happened on that fateful day "is always at the back of my mind".

He sometimes visits Ms Gargan's grave, he added.

Irish Independent

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