Sligo man jailed for murder of retired telecoms broker

Victim Eugene Gillespie worked in the family shop and lived alone with his dog Tiny

In a victim impact statement, the family pleaded for more resources to be allocated to the gardaí to protect those at risk in society.

In a victim impact statement, the family pleaded for more resources to be allocated to the gardaí to protect those at risk in society.

Thu, Apr 3, 2014, 20:40

A 30-year-old Sligo man has been jailed for life for the murder of a retired telecoms broker.

Simon McGinley of Connaughton Road Car Park, Sligo had denied murder but admitted the manslaughter of Eugene Gillespie (67) on September 22, 2012.

He had pleaded guilty to the false imprisonment of Mr Gillespie and trespass to commit robbery at his home in Old Market Street on September 19, 2012.

The Central Criminal Court heard the manslaughter plea was not accepted by the State and a jury was sworn in for the trial, which commenced on March 25.

Mr Gillespie was a retired telecoms broker who also worked in the family shop and lived alone with his dog Tiny.

He had a passionate interest in antique cars and spent much of his time going to antique car rallies.

Mr Gillespie was found tied up in the hallway of his home in Old Market Street by his nephew and his brother, two days after McGinley assaulted him.

McGinley, who said he only knew the deceased to see, had called 999 the day after the assault to say a man was tied up in the house.

But gardaí went to the wrong house and Mr Gillespie was not found until the following day after his partner and family became concerned they had not heard from him.

Mr Gillespie died in hospital the following day after suffering a cardiac arrest and attempts to resuscitate him.

Today the jury of seven women and five men returned a unanimous verdict of guilty of murder after five hours of deliberation.

Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan sentenced McGinley to life imprisonment, backdating it to September 29, 2012 for time spent in custody.

He also handed down a 10-year sentence for the false imprisonment charge and seven years for the burglary to run concurrently with the life imprisonment.

McGinley made a 999 call to gardaí the day after the assault saying a man was tied up in a house with brown gates.

Audio of the call was replayed to the jury and McGinley was heard saying, “across the road from the barracks over towards the brown gate, there’s a man tied up in the house. Bye, bye.”

McGinley had kicked in the gate to Mr Gillespie’s home and the court heard evidence he had made an attempt to kick in another door nearby.

He said he only went into the house to rob it and did not expect Mr Gillespie to be present.

In an interview he told gardaí he punched Mr Gillespie with closed fists and tied him up before searching the house.

McGinley also told gardaí he was drinking and taking ‘Japanese D10s’ that day.

He also said he owed a man €150 for diazepam.

McGinley told gardaí he got in the gate of the house because “there was a tow bar at the bottom. I hacked it out of the way and pushed it in.”