Belfast Telegraph

Jail chiefs under fire over husband killer's days out

By Deborah McAleese

Prison bosses have been criticised for allowing killer Julie McGinley out of jail on day release on two occasions in recent months.

McGinley, who was jailed for a minimum of 15 years in 2003 for murdering her husband Gerry, was granted permission to leave Hydebank Women’s Prison on temporary day release, even though she is only halfway through her life sentence.

On both occasions she was accompanied by a prison officer.

Stormont justice committee member Jim Wells said he was astonished by the Prison Service’s decision to grant her a day pass.

“Why is someone who has served such a small portion of their life sentence allowed out? When someone commits a very serious crime like she did, it is astonishing to see her receiving what appears to be special treatment,” Mr Wells said.

The DUP MLA added: “I am very surprised by the decision taken by the Prison Service and I think whoever granted this woman day release has questions to answer.”

Life sentence inmates do not normally take part in day release schemes until the final year of their prison terms. McGinley is not due before a parole board for at least another five years.

A Prison Service spokesman said that any prisoner has a right to apply for temporary release for a specific purpose, but must satisfy a stringent risk assessment for it to be granted.

He added: “There is no automatic right of entitlement to temporary release.”

McGinley and her lover Michael Monaghan were jailed for life after murdering her husband in August 2000.

Gerry McGinley was beaten to death with a blunt instrument while sleeping in his bed. After killing him, the pair stripped his body, transported it across the border and then dumped it in a shallow grave in Co Leitrim.

Following her husband's disappearance, McGinley aroused local suspicions when she was seen openly in Enniskillen with Monaghan. She stood to gain £300,000 from her husband’s life insurance and planned to start a new life with her lover.

Background

In 2003 Julie McGinley and her lover Michael Monaghan were both jailed for life — with a minimum tariff of 15 years — for murdering her husband Gerry McGinley. She was recently granted day release from the female prison at Hydebank Wood.

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