Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Mother killer 'released in error'

Celyn Eadon should have been held in custody
Celyn Eadon should have been held in custody

A man who murdered his mother was mistakenly released from custody three weeks before the attack, a judge has revealed.

Celyn Eadon, 22, stabbed his mother Noreen Kelly to death in a frenzied killing at their home in Derrycrieve, Islandeady, Castlebar Co Mayo on March 9 2011.

The drug user, who the court heard had begun abusing solvents as young as 10 and had gone through a profound personality change after suffering a serious beating aged 12, was jailed for life.

Three weeks before the attack on his mother, he appeared at Castlebar District Court on a theft charge after being arrested on a bench warrant for outstanding road traffic offences.

Eadon should have been held in custody after the February 16 2011 hearing.

Inspector of Prisons Judge Michael Reilly was called in to examine the case three years ago and revealed today the killer had been unable to post bail when in court on that day.

Despite an order for his remand and paperwork being completed by court staff, Eadon walked from the courthouse.

He was arrested on March 11 2011 after his mother was stabbed to death at the family home.

His trial heard that he had been hallucinating in the days before the attack and he had started fires in the house.

The court also heard that his mother had thrown a bag believed to have drugs in it into the fire the evening before she died.

A number of gardai involved in the case were disciplined over the mistaken release following an internal investigation by a chief superintendent.

Judge Reilly said that former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan accepted from an early stage that the correct remand documentations had been filed by court staff on February 16 2011.

His report found that the proper procedures were followed in the court.

On the back of the mistaken release, the judge revealed that the Courts Service devised a new protocol for the preparation, checking and issuing of warrants in provincial district courts.

"I am satisfied that the protocols now in operation reflect best practice for the preparation, checking and issuing of warrants," the judge said.

"The Courts Service is to be complimented for its proactive and sensible approach in this matter."

Judge Reilly revealed that he could not examine the role of gardai involved in the remand hearing further as his inquiry was non-statutory, while internal disciplinary action against officers was statutory.

The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) confirmed it has been asked to investigate the policy, practice and procedure of the handling of remand prisoners in the courts.

The inquiry began in April, but it is not expected to be complete for at least 18 months.

It is only the second time Gsoc has commenced an inquiry of this kind into policy, practice and procedure under section 106 of the Garda Siochana Act.

The first was into the fixed charged penalty system and led to a report in 2009 which subsequently led to massive controversy in the force over the widespread wiping of penalty points by officers.

The Garda press office confirmed a number of officers have been disciplined over the remand issue in the Eadon case.

But the force's headquarters declined to comment further on the action taken saying: "An Garda Siochana does not comment on the outcome of internal disciplinary procedures.

"An Garda Siochana awaits the outcome of the Gsoc examination into Garda practice, policy and procedure in relation to dealing with persons who are committed to custody on remand by a court."

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