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Serial Killer MacArthur bumps into McWilliams

SERIAL killer Malcolm MacArthur was released by the prison authorities – back to the area where he was arrested.

MacArthur wandered around Dun Laoghaire at the weekend – returning to many of the places he visited while on the run from gardai.

The double killer even bumped into celebrity economist David McWilliams. MacArthur recognised the author but McWilliams seemed to have no idea who the killer was.

MacArthur is serving life for the murder of nurse Bridie Gargan (27). He beat her to death with a lump hammer in the Phoenix Park in 1982 before shooting Offaly farmer Donal Dunne in the head three days later.

The TV economic expert and other shoppers were unaware of the identity of the silver haired pensioner who strolled around on Saturday afternoon.

The pair apologised to each other and walked on after the incident, but murderer Macarthur did a double take when he thought he may have recognised McWilliams.

“As he was walking in the door he bumped into economist David McWilliams,” said eyewitness Padraic O’Reilly.

“Both men apologised politely and McWilliams walked on totally unaware of who he had just walked into.

“Funnily enough, MacArthur looked after him and it looked like he recognised McWilliams from the telly,” said Mr OReilly.

Macarthur (66) was on temporary release from the open prison Shelton Abbey and passers-by were in the dark that the silver-haired man with grey slacks, expensive leather shoes and a smart navy jumper was the man responsible for the brutal killing of a young nurse.

He was spotted in Dun Laoghaire town centre at the weekend where he visited shops and strolled around.

As a fugitive MacArthur visited the same area and many of the same shops.

He was arrested a short distance away in the Dalkey apartment owned by the then Attorney General Patrick Connolly. It resulted in Conor Cruise O'Brien coining the acronym GUBU (grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented).

MacArthur was due to return to Shelton Abbey today – his home since he was transferred there from Mountjoy in 2003.

He hails from a wealthy farming family who lived at Breemount, a 180-acre estate near Trim in Co Meath. In May 1982, Macarthur took his partner, Brenda Little, and son, seven-year-old Colm Malcolm, to the Canaries.

After six weeks his inheritance money ran out. He left for Ireland alone, giving Little the impression he would return.

He arrived in Dublin on July 8, 1982. On July 22, Macarthur attacked a young nurse in the Phoenix Park.

Using a lump hammer, he bludgeoned to death 27-year-old Bridie Gargan while she was sunbathing.

Three days later he went to Edenderry, Co Offaly, to meet farmer Donal Dunne, who had advertised a shotgun for sale in a classified ad.

On inspecting the gun, Macarthur turned the weapon on the farmer and shot him dead.