Double killer John Gallagher avoids prosecution on a technicality

An attempt to prosecute double killer John Gallagher for absconding from custody failed yesterday when the judge ruled that the summons was incorrectly served.

46-year-old Mr Gallagher, who shot dead his ex-girlfriend 18-year-old Anne Gillespie and her mother 51-year-old Annie in the grounds of Sligo Hospital in 1988, was released from the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum in Dublin on June 29th, six weeks after giving himself up.

John Gallagher was found guilty but insane at his trial in 1989 but bolted from the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, Dublin, while on day release in 2000.

He handed himself in last May, was released from the Centarl Mental Hospital in June and now lives in Strabane, Co Tyrone.

A summons for absconding from custody was first issued in 2000.

The DPP then authorised a second one in July of this year but Gallagher no longer works or lives in Lifford.

The proceedings had been brought under the Criminal Justice Act 1960 with the offence for absconding from custody carrying a possible six-month prison sentence.

Yesterday at Dublin District Court, Judge Catherine Murphy ruled the serving of the summons at a wrong address rendered it defective.