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I HAVE NO DOUBT THIS MAN IS STILL CAPABLE OF MURDER

On July 22, 1982, a young nurse was bludgeoned in the Phoenix Park near the American Ambassador's residence. Two days later, a farmer was slain by his own gun in Edenderry, Co Offaly. Their names will forever stick in the minds of Irish people of a certain generation.

They were Nurse Bridie Gargan from Co Meath and Donal Dunne from Co Offaly.

Their murderer was Meath man, Malcolm MacArthur.

This weekend, he walked the streets of Dun Laoghaire on temporary release from the open prison Shelton Abbey. He enjoyed an afternoon of shopping and strolling around the streets, apparently without a care in the world.

The question that immediately comes to mind is 'should he be out?' For me the answer is a resounding 'no'.

Bear in mind that this is the same man who tried to execute his mother years before, by trying to electrocute her with a wrongly wired heater so that he could get his inheritance of about £70,000.

This was the man who, while armed with the gun he had stolen from Donal Dunne, carried out a raid on a elderly man in Killiney to rob him of his money.

This is the man who stated when interviewed after his arrest stated: " I affirm that I am responsible for the deaths of Bridie Gargan and Donal Dunne."

I have no doubt Malcolm MacArthur is still capable of murder, no matter what any mind- reading psychologies may say about his rehabilitation.

I worked in the murder squad with the detectives who arrested MacArthur in the former Attorney General's home, Pilot View in Dalkey.

I remember well the terror this toff, dressed in a dickie bow and tweeds, caused in the period between this murders and when he was caught. No garda involved in his case had any doubts about just how dangerous he was.

MacArthur has sought temporary release on a number of occasions in recent years, but it has been denied, until now.

One wonders why Justice Minister Alan Shatter opted to change his successors' policies -- and in particular to allow him back to the place he hid from his appalling crimes.

PJ Browne is a former detective superintendent with over 35 years experience policing serious crime


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