Double killer John Gallagher’s prosecution ruling deferred

A judge has deferred ruling on whether a prosecution brought against double killer John Gallagher for absconding from custody should be struck out.

46 year-old Gallagher, who killed mother and daughter Annie and Anne Gillespie in the grounds of Sligo Hospital in 1988, was released from the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum in Dublin on June 29 last, six weeks after giving himself up.

He was found guilty but insane at his trial in 1989 and had absconded in 2000 after spending 12 years at the facility.

His release in June came with a number of conditions but he has been allowed to visit his mother at her home in Lifford.

The Irish Independent reports how a summons for absconding from custody had been issued after Gallagher originally left the Central Mental Hospita in 2000.

In July this year, the DPP authorised another one, by which time he had been released from the facility and he is now living with his wife and children in Strabane.

His prosecution for absconding from custody was before Dublin District Court .

He was not in the courtroom but Judge Catherine Murphy was told that he was "close by".

Garda Sergeant Ivan Howlin told Judge Murphy that on July 7, he and colleague Garda Michael Lynch travelled to Lifford to serve the summons on Gallagher but he was not present.

The summonse was handed to John Gallgher's brother.

Defence solicitor Dara Robinson argued that the summons was not correctly served in accordance with the District Court's rules.

He said the Lifford address is no longer John Gallagher's home or place of work and he asked the court to strike out the case.

Judge Murphy said she would give her decision next week.