Killer agrees to hand back dead wife's jewellery


A man who strangled his young wife to death and then fled to Spain has agreed to return her jewellery to her family.

Colin Whelan (34) was sentenced to life imprisonment last April for the murder of Mary Gough at their home in Balbriggan in north Co Dublin.

He had been married to the 27-year-old for just six months before he killed her on March 1st, 2001.

At Balbriggan District Court today Judge Cormac Dunne granted the return of jewellery and other items of sentimental value to the late Ms Gough's family.

Colin Whelan leaves court last April.
Colin Whelan leaves court last April.

Detective Sergeant Pat Marry, who originally arrested Whelan in 2001, said the items had come into the possession of the gardai during the course of their murder investigation.

"I served notice on Mr Whelan. He indicated he doesn't wish to contest any property," he said.

David Gough appeared in court on behalf of his family and indicated that he wanted the return of his sister's property. Judge Dunne granted the order.

Whelan had originally claimed that Ms Gough had died after falling down the stairs of their home but a post mortem exam established that she had been strangled.

He was charged with her murder shortly afterwards but was released on bail. He then attempted to fake his own death by leaving his car and some of his possessions at Howth Head in Dublin and fleeing to Spain.

However, he was spotted working as a bartender in Majorca by an Irish holidaymaker around 15 months later and was extradited back to Ireland in July last year.

At the murder trial this April, when he changed his plea to guilty, the court heard that he had conducted internet searches to discover ways of killing Mary Gough even before they were married.

The couple had taken out a life insurance policy which would have given €400,000 to the surviving partner in the event of one of them dying within 10 years.