Serial killer who pledged to kill a woman a week dies

Cormac Murphy

A SERIAL killer who vowed he would murder a woman a week has died in hospital. Geoffrey Evans was behind two horrific sex murders of young women in Brittas Bay and in Co Mayo.

He was one of Ireland’s longest-serving prisoners and carried out the notorious killings with his murderous partner, John Shaw.

They were captured by gardai in Salthill, Co Galway. They had intended to rape and murder a woman every week.

“To this day, I think of the torture Evans and Shaw subjected these women to,” said Herald columnist and former detective, Gerry O’Carroll.

“They kept the second victim, Mary Duffy, alive, in unimaginable circumstances, for 24 hours.

“Geoffrey Evans and his mate Shaw were natural-born killers. Their total lack of any morality or scruples ensure they stand out in long line of Irish killers over the years since then,” said Mr O’Carroll.

Evans (69) died at a Dublin hospital after more than 30 years in custody.

He had cost the state around €2m in medical and security bills since suffering a stroke during heart surgery in 2008.

Six prison officers had been detailed to guard him around the clock in the €1,000-a-day ICU bed at the Mater.

He was subsequently electronically tagged, reducing the cost because there was no longer a need for round-the-clock security.

His more than three decades behind bars made him the costliest prisoner in the history of the State, with a bill of more than €4m.


The murderer and his partner-in-crime John Shaw embarked on a horrific crime spree after arriving in Ireland from the UK in 1974.

They had gone on the run from British police who were seeking the pair in connection with a series of rapes.

Evans and Shaw needed money, so they first carried out a series of burglaries in Co Wicklow in 1975, but were caught and jailed for 18 months.

Their release in 1976 was to prove fatal for Elizabeth Plunkett, a 23-year-old clerk from Ringsend, Dublin, who they kidnapped, raped and strangled.

Elizabeth was abducted in Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow, and taken to Castletymon where she was put through her ordeal.

Her body washed ashore a month afterwards in Ballyteigue Bay in Co Wexford.

A short time later, they drove to Castlebar, Co Mayo, looking for another victim and found a young local woman, Mary Duffy, a 23-year-old cook.

She had been walking alone from work to her home when she was set upon by the pair.

They punched her in the face and took her to an old railway station in Connemara, where she was repeatedly raped before being strangled.

They dumped her body into Lough Inagh and went drinking at a local pub in Salthill, but were spotted and later arrested.

Herald writer Gerry O'Carroll, a retired Garda Detective Inspector, recited the rosary in an attempt to get Shaw to confess.

The move worked and Shaw gave a detailed confession.

Evans died yesterday afternoon in St Mary’s nursing home in Dublin.

Shaw (70) remains in Roscommon's Castlerea jail.