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17.21 3 Apr 2014


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A man (30) has been jailed for life for the murder of Sligo pensioner Eugene Gillespie, who died after he was beaten and tied up in his own home for the sake of €60.

Simon McGinley of Connaughton Road Car Park in Sligo kept his head down as the jury returned its unanimous verdict after nearly five hours of deliberations at the Central Criminal Court.

He had denied the murder charge but had pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial to Eugene Gillespie's manslaughter on September 22nd 2012. His plea was not acceptable to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

He also pleaded guilty to burglary and to falsely imprisoning the Mr. Gillespie (67) at his home in Old Market Street on September 19th 2012. The court heard Mr. McGinley rang 999 the following day to alert gardai that there was a man tied up in a house.

However gardai went to the wrong address - which meant it was nearly 48 hours before the pensioner was found lying in the hallway of his home by his brother and nephew.

He was alive but he died in hospital the next day.

'Primitive savage attack'

In victim impact evidence following the conviction, Eugene Gillespie's niece Aisling Tinsley called the beating a 'primitive savage attack' and said her uncle's 'swollen torn body' was left unrecognisable.

She described him as a 'rock', and said the vintage car enthusiast was one of Sligo's true characters.

'There was no need to inflict those horrific injuries on Eugene for his generous nature would have meant that he would have given Simon McGinley the shirt off his back', she told the court.

This victim impact statement from Eugene Gillespie's niece, signed Aisling Dunne

Aisling Tinsley said his 'devastating' death has had a terrible effect on the whole community but particularly the elderly who now 'feel even more vulnerable in their own home'.

She has called for An Garda Siochána to be given more resources to 'safeguard those at risk in this country who are under daily attack'.

Jailed for life

Simon McGinley told gardai he only stole €60 from Eugene Gillespie's home. He has 21 previous convictions.

Mr. Justice Garrett Sheehan imposed the mandatory life sentence for murder following his conviction this afternoon, which he backdated to 2012 to allow for time already spent in custody.

He imposed concurrent prison sentences of 7 years and 10 years for burglary and false imprisonment.


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