Double killer released from mental hospital

Sat, Jun 30, 2012, 01:00

DOUBLE KILLER John Gallagher was released from the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin yesterday, according to members of his estranged family who were contacted prior to his release.

Gallagher, who killed mother and daughter Annie and Anne Gillespie in the grounds of Sligo Hospital in 1988, was released just after 4pm following a review by the Mental Health Review Board.

Some conditions have been imposed on him. He is allowed to visit his mother in Lifford, Co Donegal, and his father’s grave, but has been banned from having any contact with members of the Gillespie family or estranged members of his own family.

A spokesman for the Gallagher family said they were distraught at his release. “We have had no say or we have not been able to put our case forward. We are living in complete fear of him and now he will be allowed to walk among us again. We do not think the authorities thought this through properly and we have never been consulted on the matter. If anything else happens then the authorities will have blood on their hands,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, understood Mr Gallagher had been granted conditional discharge. She said the board operated independently of the Minister, who had “no role” in its decisions.

Gallagher absconded from the Central Mental Hospital in 2000 having been found guilty but insane of the murder of the two women at his trial, held in 1989.

He has been living in Strabane, across the Border from his home place in Lifford, since 2003 but could not be arrested as he had committed no crime in that jurisdiction. He signed himself back into the Central Mental Hospital last month, where his case was reviewed as per the provisions of legislation introduced in 2006.