Drug addict confessed to crime and died before name cleared
A TRAGIC drug addict previously confessed to the brutal double murder of Sylvia Sheils and Mary Callanan, a crime that sees their actual killer Mark Nash today beginning a fresh life sentence.
Innocent Dean Lyons - a homeless heroin user who died in 2000 - bizarrely admitted to gardai that he carried out the frenzied stabbings and was even charged with the brutal crimes.
The charges were dropped without reason, and the murder investigation and arrest were the subjects of an internal garda inquiry before Nash was arrested.
Mr Lyons died in Manchester in September 2000 a broken man, but he was vindicated by an official government report that was published in 2006.
In its report, the commission found that Dean Lyons acquired detailed information on the murders of Ms Shiels and Ms Callanan from the questions he was asked.
The sole member of the commission, George Birmingham SC, said Mr Lyons had proved highly adept at acquiring information from the way in which the questions were formulated.
He said this information had been communicated inadvertently to Mr Lyons. He had not been ill-treated by gardai and there had been no attempt to frame him.
However, the commission criticised gardai over keeping incomplete interview records, which, it said, could have led to a miscarriage of justice.
The commission report said a number of gardai had expressed misgivings about Mr Lyons' admissions.
If the Director of Public Prosecutions had been informed of the different views among gardai on the reliability of the admissions, no charges would have been laid against Mr Lyons, the report stated.
However, the report concluded that there was no deliberate attempt to undermine Mr Lyons.
His confessions were attributable to existing vulnerabilities within his personality, compounded by his heroin addiction, it was found.