Terrified woman left 'scared and nervous' by notes from man who served 25 years for murder of teenage girl
- Jill Bishop was 18 when she was killed in 1991 by Michael McLaughlin
- He showed no remorse and pleaded not guilty when charged with murder
- McLaughlin was released last July after serving a life sentence
- A teenager saw McLaughlin's picture in The Herald and said he approached her numerous times
- She said: 'How can someone do that to someone, go to prison for years, and then come out and start linking up with young women the same age as his victim?'
A DUBLIN teenager has spoken of her terror after she found out an older man who had slipped her his phone number was a convicted murderer who spent 25 years in prison for killing a girl her own age.
Michael McLaughlin (50) was released from his life sentence last year for the murder of 18-year-old Bray woman Jill Bishop.
He was arrested the day Jill’s body was found, showed no remorse, and pleaded not guilty when charged with murder.
The Bishop family had campaigned for a copy of his photograph to be circulated prior to his release from jail because they did not know what he
looked like and were fearful he could be standing beside them in the street and they would not know it.
They were also concerned that other women could be approached by McLaughlin, but be unaware of his violent past.
However, the Irish Prison Service told them it could not supply such a photograph under the Data Protection Act.
The Herald and Sunday World recently printed McLaughlin’s picture to alert the public.
It was only when the Dublin teenager recently approached by McLaughlin saw his photograph in the Herald that she realised who he was.
She described how McLaughlin first started approaching her as she worked in a cafe north of Dublin city.
“In the cafe we would frequently get older men making comments like ‘if I was 20 years younger’ and that kind of thing, but it’s generally harmless banter,” said the teen.
“But this was different. There was something weird about him. It wasn’t just casual conversation. It was like ‘what do you do?’ and ‘what are your
hobbies?’ and ‘where are you going to college?’ and even ‘where do you live?’
“He would also wait until me or my friend were serving before approaching the counter. Around Christmas we were really busy and he came up the queue to the side of the counter and slipped a piece of paper to me. It was a phone number and a message saying ‘call after 2pm on a weekday – Mick’ and I thought it was weird,” she explained.
“My manager said I didn’t have to serve him any more. Then about two weeks later he was sitting in the lobby area and he called me over and said he didn’t want to make me feel uncomfortable by giving me his number, but asked me to call him,” she added.
McLaughlin persisted, and gave the girl a card at Easter time. The teen girl then noticed that she was spotting McLaughlin in other places, such as the city centre, where he would approach her and shake her hand and try to initiate conversation.
“I would try to be polite and not make a scene,” she said. When the Herald published McLaughlin’s picture it was spotted by the girl’s friend and
she drew her attention to it.
“I was very upset over it, and for the girl he had killed,” said the teen. “How can someone do that to someone, go to prison for years, and then come out and start linking up with young women the same age as his victim. Has he learned nothing?”
The teen added: “Now I find I’m looking up and down the road and it is nerve-wracking.
“We’ve communicated with gardai about this and the message we got back was they are aware of McLaughlin but can’t do anything unless he is harassing someone. But I’m scared and nervous. What awful thing does he need to do to someone before gardai consider him a risk?”
The family of Jill Bishop said they believe he hasn’t learned anything from his 25 years behind bars.
“He is a prowler and a stalker,” said Jill’s father Ciaran.
“The struggle we have had to get a photograph of this man out in the public, which in the end came through the media, has proved our fears that he would try to get involved with other women.”
Ciaran told the Herald that he believes all serious criminals should be tagged on release from prison.
“In this day and age of technology, it would not be difficult to do, and at least then their movements could be monitored,” he added.