Updated: 23/05/12 : 05:50:03
THE SLIGO double killer John Gallagher handed himself into the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin yesterday having lived in Northern Ireland for many years after absconding from detention the Irish Times
A source at the Department of Justice has confirmed that Co Donegal man Gallagher is now being detained.
Gallagher, who killed mother and daughter Anne and Annie Gillespie in the grounds of Sligo hospital in 1988, had been living in Strabane, Co Tyrone.
Gallagher, from Lifford in Co Donegal, killed Anne (22) and her mother Annie (51) after learning how Anne planned to break off their relationship. The killing took place in the grounds of Sligo General Hospital on September 18th, 1988.
Gallagher, who was then 22, was tried for murder but was found to be insane. Twelve years later in, July 2000, he escaped form the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin and fled to England where he lived for a number of years.
Left: Annie and Anne Gillespie were shot to death in the carpark of Sligo General Hospital
The hospital authorities had approved his day release, a privilege he had received in preparation for his discharge.
He left his hostel-type accommodation where he had been housed for a number of years and drove through the grounds on his new motorcycle, purchased months earlier with money he earned from his job in Sandyford.
The hospital has said Gallagher had always previously complied with the terms of his day parole.
On the occasions when he was permitted to leave the hospital overnight, he was said to have caused no problems and always returned the following day.
Hours after his escape, checkpoints were set up around the city. Some days after he absconded, gardaí learned he was in the Birmingham area of the UK. He continued to reside in the UK for a number of years.
Because of the verdict of insane he was never convicted, and under a loophole in the law could not be extradited back to Republic.
However in 2003 and set up home in Strabane, just a few miles from where his victims lived in the twin towns of Ballybofey and Stranorlar. He is believed to have lived there with his partner and children.
Gardaí had repeatedly said they could not arrest Gallagher unless he crossed the border into the Republic. He was not wanted in Britain because he committed no crime there.
His escape in 2000 forced the government to enforce changes to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) rules by attaching strict conditions to release orders. See SligoToday.ie 11/5/11
To hear the RTE Radio documentary on the killings that shocked Sligo and the nation go to:http://www.blubrry.com/doconone/953693/dead-people-dont-matter/