A computer analyst who used the internet to discover ways to strangle his wife was today sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder.
Colin Whelan, aged 34, from Clonard Street, Balbriggan in Dublin, began the internet searches on topics like “death by strangulation” and “blocking the windpipe” in July 2000, two months before he married Mary Gough, a 27-year-old legal secretary, and seven months before he finally strangled her in their north Dublin home.
At the Central Criminal Court in Dublin today Judge Paul Carney imposed a mandatory life sentence.
“This has been the most calculating and callous killing that I have ever encountered in my time in court,” he said.
He said that Whelan had prolonged the suffering of the Gough family by staging a “Reginald Perrin” style disappearance when he absconded while out on bail awaiting trial in March 2003.
Whelan’s car was found beside the sea in Howth, abandoned in March 2003 with a number of personal belongings inside but gardaí never believed that he had taken his own life.
He was extradited back to Ireland last year after an Irish tourist spotted him working as a barman in Majorca.
At the sentencing hearing, Supt Tom Gallagher from Balbriggan Garda station said that Whelan had taken out an insurance policy worth IR£200,000 on the lives of him and his wife in May 2000. He doubled its value to IR£400,000 a month later and then began his internet searches.