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Shopping spree wasn't his first visit to town

MALCOLM MacArthur's Saturday afternoon shopping spree in Dun Laoghaire wasn't the killer's first trip to the town.

Far from it. His last high-profile visit saw him charged with two murders at the local district court.

Dun Laoghaire has no doubt changed markedly since MacArthur's visits as a free-wheeling man-about-town in the early 1980s. It can be seen in wide-eyed stares of the killer as he wandered through the shopping centre there last Saturday.

At one point a confused MacArthur was reduced to asking for directions from a local woman. Minutes earlier he bumped into celebrity economist David McWilliams.

From there he shopped for chinos and wandered though Penneys.

It was all a far cry from the last Saturday that Macarthur spent in the town, in August 1982.

Retired judge Mary Kotsonouris, whose court MacArthur was brought to that day, recalls: "I heard a sound that was neither human nor animal, a low but thunderous swelling of noise that was as inchoate as it was meaningless. It is a sound I hope never to hear again -- the baying of the crowd. Five minutes later, he was charged with two murders."