High-profile detective who was at the heart of the biggest murder cases in the State in the Eighties
PJ BROWNE, the retired detective superintendent who died last week, was on the beat as a young uniformed guard on the Navan Road in Dublin when he was stopped by a fellow Listowel garda, Gerry O'Carroll, and asked was he interested in "going for detective".
The meeting took place in the early Seventies – the two had not known each other before but knew of each other's families. "I never knew him up till then at all. Of course, I knew of the Brownes of Listowel. I was a motorbike guard and I'd heard there was a Listowel man in Cabra so I went over and we had a long chat. We both decided to go up and a year or so later PJ became a detective," O'Carroll said.
Apart from a period as assistant to Commissioner Patrick Culligan and two years when he was promoted to the rank of superintendent, with the requisite time back in uniform, and posted to Cavan, he remained a detective throughout his career. He was at the heart of the biggest murder cases in the State during the Eighties when he served as "book man" for the head of the then Murder Squad, Detective Superintendent John Courtney, a fellow Kerryman. He prepared the book of evidence against Malcolm MacArthur for the murder of nurse, Bridie Gargan, in the Phoenix Park in July 1982.