Family urge Shatter to detain killer Gallagher

The family of double killer John Gallagher have made contact with Justice Minister Alan Shatter, asking him to detain their brother at the Central Mental Hospital indefinitely.

Gallagher killed his girlfriend Anne Gillespie, 22, and her mother Annie, 51, in the grounds of Sligo hospital in 1988.

Gallagher’s family wrote to Mr Shatter yesterday, outlining their fears for their own safety if Gallagher is released.

The family, apart from brother Christopher, say they and other victims of the 46-year-old killer must be given time to consider what they will do if he is freed.

A spokesman for the family said: “We have appealed to the minister to think long and hard before even considering if he is fit for release. We do not feel he is because we know what he is capable of.

“He has killed twice already and we feel he is capable of it again. We never thought he was insane so we feel he will be found sane when he is examined.

“However, that does not help us. We have lived in fear of him for the past 10 years since he moved back to Strabane and now he could be living amongst us soon.

“As long as he is detained in there then we can feel somewhat safe in our homes at night.”

They said they had appealed to Mr Shatter to exercise all his powers to ensure justice is done in the case.

The family also told Mr Shatter how they fear for the safety of Patrick Maguire, the uncle of Anne Gillespie, whom Gallagher also tried to shoot.

“We know what he is capable of. He told us that he got away with killing two people and that he would get away with it again.

“He did not hand himself in thinking that he would serve any form of lengthy sentence — he had all this worked out.

“He has studied the law and he has taken legal advice and he thinks he will get out soon,” the spokesperson said.

The family were reacting after it was acknowledged by Mr Shatter that Gallagher could be released in a matter of weeks — depending on the decision of the Mental Health review Board.

Meanwhile, Mr Shatter has apologised to the family of Anne and Annie Gillespie for not contacting them sooner about Gallagher’s detention.

“I regret they weren’t informed earlier. They were informed by the gardaí on Tuesday evening.

“We are doing what we can to ensure that they have the maximum information possible,” he said.


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