Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Garda killer facing trial in UK over murder plot

Garda killer facing trial in UK over murder plot GARDA killer Pearse McAuley will be re-arrested immediately upon his expected release next month by Irish detectives armed with an extradition warrant.

McAuley is wanted in Britain after he escaped from London's Brixton prison where he was awaiting trial on charges of plotting to kill and cause explosions.

McAuley, along with fellow IRA killer Kevin Walsh, killed Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, in Adare, Co Limerick, in June 1996. They are due to be freed after completing most of their sentence.

Walsh, the leader of the IRA's so-called ‘Munster unit', will walk out of Castlerea Prison early next month and head back home to Limerick. But McAuley will be met at the gates by gardai with an extradition warrant.

McAuley is accused of conspiracy to murder brewery boss Charles Tidbury. Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad say he was part of an IRA unit operating in Britain during the latter 1980s and early 1990s and after his jail escape, which involved a gun being hidden in the hollowed out heel of a shoe, he fled here and later joined up with the Munster outfit.

Both Walsh (52), from Patrickswell, Co Limerick, and McAuley (44), from Strabane, Co Tyrone, were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by the Special Criminal Court in 1999. With quarter remission for good behaviour in jail, their sentences expire in the next few weeks. Walsh is believed by gardai to have fired the shots which killed Det Garda McCabe and seriously injured his colleague, Det Garda Ben O'Sullivan, during a botched raid on a post office van in Adare in June 1996.

Four members of the terror unit pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the detective. They had originally been charged with his murder but the State was forced to accept the manslaughter plea when key witnesses refused to co-operate after IRA intimidation.

Within hours of the shooting, anti-terrorist gardai were in no doubt about the identity of the gang involved. But Sinn Fein and the IRA continued to deny it was responsible until after the four men were convicted.

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