Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Serial killer who pledged to rape and murder one woman a week dies at 69

Serial killer and rapist Geoffrey Evans -- who chillingly planned to abduct, rape and kill one woman a week -- has died at the age of 69.

Evans, who died on Sunday at St Mary's nursing home, had been in a coma since December 2008 when he suffered a stroke while undergoing heart surgery.

With his accomplice and fellow Englishman, John Shaw (70), Evans was convicted in 1978 of the rape and murder of two women, Elizabeth Plunkett and Mary Duffy, and sentenced to life.

Shaw is still behind bars in Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon. The pair -- who confessed to the killings when arrested -- were among the longest-serving prisoners in the State.

Both men were only in their 30s when they arrived in Ireland in 1974 but they had built up a string of criminal convictions and were wanted by UK police in connection with three rapes.

Evans, the smaller of the two, was also said to be the smarter -- and he worked out the logistics while former coal miner Shaw provided the brawn.

The men had decided to fund a pre-planned murder spree in Ireland -- with the aim of killing at least one young woman a week -- by carrying out house burglaries. However, they were caught in Cork the following year and got two-year jail terms for the break-ins.

Due to an administrative blunder, they were freed after 18 months and disappeared before they could be tracked down for their crimes in the UK.

In late August 1976 they drove to Brittas, Co Wicklow, where they spotted Elizabeth Plunkett, a 23-year-old clerk, from Ringsend, Dublin. Shaw and Evans offered her a lift and drove to Castletimon Wood where she was raped repeatedly.

Evans then told Shaw to kill her and he choked the young woman with the sleeve of a nylon shirt.

The men arrived in Galway on September 10 and bought a mobile home at a caravan park in Barna, outside the city and then stole a green Ford Cortina, changed the number plates and painted it black.

But they aroused suspicion when they walked into a shop in Maam, Connemara, and bought petrol. The shopkeeper noticed the poorly painted car and their English accents. He took down the car's registration number.

The next day, the two arrived in Castlebar as local cook Mary Duffy (24) was trying to arrange a lift home to the family farm at Deerpark, Belcarra.

Shaw and Evans abducted, beat and raped her in the back of the car and then drove to Ballinahinch, Connemara, where she was again raped and tied to a tree. Shaw subsequently suffocated her by putting a cushion over her head.

On the night of September 26, however, a passing garda spotted their car and the two were taken in and confessed to their murderous crimes.

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