herald

Monday 24 July 2017

News vendor facing store ban had role in finding killer

News vendor George Davis
News vendor George Davis

A news vendor, whose staff pinpointed the whereabouts of double murderer Malcolm MacArthur for gardai 35 years ago, will learn on Friday if his newspaper stand can remain at the entrance of Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre.

A former employee of Mr Davis, now retired, recognised MacArthur when he bought a newspaper from one of his two news stands at the shopping centre in 1982.

He and Mr Davis tipped off gardai that MacArthur was hiding somewhere in the area.

Gardai, led by Detective Sergeant John O'Mahony, who is now an assistant commissioner, set a trap for the killer and arrested him in the home of the then Attorney General, Paddy Connolly, who was on holiday at the time.

MacArthur later admitted the murder of 27-year-old nurse Bridie Gargan, who had been sunbathing in the Phoenix Park.

While on the run, MacArthur also shot dead farmer Donal Dunne in Edenderry, Co Offaly. He was released after 30 years' imprisonment in 2012.

Mr Davis, of Rathmichael, Dublin, spent a day in the Circuit Civil Court last week resisting a bid by Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre owners Coltard to have his mobile news stand banned from the entrance doors of the premises. He has sold newspapers around Dun Laoghaire for almost 40 years.

Barrister Raymond Delahunt told the court Mr Davis at best only had a licence to sell papers that could be revoked at any time.

Smokers

Coltard claimed it had received a complaint from a shopping centre tenant about Mr Davis's trolley-type news stand attracting third parties, including cigarette smokers, congregating around it.

Barrister Mark O'Riordan, for Davis, claimed that in the late 1970s, during legal proceedings involving the previous owners of the centre, a compromise had been reached allowing Mr Davis a life-long contract to sell papers at the entrance.

Coltard, which acquired the centre in 1998, plans a €10m redevelopment.

Mr Davis said at the adjournment of Judge Francis Comerford's judgment yesterday that, when news of his legal battle with the owners broke, it went viral on the internet and led to 30,000 emails from former customers from all over the world supporting him.

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