Belfast Telegraph

Double killer surrendered ‘to claim legacy’

By Greg Harkin

A double killer who lived openly in Northern Ireland for years handed himself in to the authorities in the Republic in an attempt to secure a significant inheritance, family members believe.

As much as €400,000 (£300,000) has been left to John Gallagher by his late father, Josie.

Gallagher (46) returned to the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin this week, 12 years after absconding. He had been living openly in Strabane, Co Tyrone, for years.

Gallagher was found guilty but insane in 1989 of killing girlfriend Anne Gillespie and her mother Annie in the grounds of Sligo General Hospital a year earlier.

Josie Gallagher left a substantial inheritance to John and his brother Christopher.

But John faced legal problems staking his claim to a fortune which is estimated to be "at least three or €400,000".

While he remains officially insane, he would be made a ward of court and the authorities would administer his estate.

And if he remained on the run in Strabane, legal sources said he could not take possession of any property in the Republic.

Family members say they believe his decision to hand himself in after 12 years on the run is "totally linked" to the inheritance.

"This is what he is up to now. He kills two people and he ends up with half of the family fortune," said one family member.

Gallagher, he said, is likely to apply to the Mental Health Review Board for release and could be free again "within a few months".

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph