herald

Wednesday 13 November 2019

'Life should mean life in murder cases', says former detective

Retired Det Insp Pat Marry
Retired Det Insp Pat Marry

A retired detective inspector has said that if he was in a position to devise a system of sentencing, a murder conviction could mean the killer spends the rest of his or her life in prison.

Pat Marry led the investigations into some of Ireland's most notorious murders, include the killings of Rachel O'Reilly, teenager Niall Dorr and Irene White.

Mr Marry retired after 33 years' service last year.

He said he would set mandatory sentencing with different custodial terms depending on whether the conviction was for murder or manslaughter.

He said that families of people "snatched" from them in such violent circumstances know those serving a life sentence can currently apply for parole after seven years.

When this happens, "it upsets families and brings the whole thing back", he said.

"It causes a lot of heartache, so I always believe that if you pre-plan a murder and are convicted, you should do life imprisonment and never get out."

Accomplice

In his recently published book, The Making Of A Detective, Mr Marry addresses the issue, saying: "In other words, you take a life, you give yours in return."

In cases where someone is an accomplice, but didn't pull the trigger, he said they should serve 35 years before parole.

For manslaughter, where a killing is unintended, he suggests a mandatory sentence of 10 to 25 years at the discretion of the judge.

Mr Marry believes such policies could act as a deterrent.

"If you had to do 10 years before being eligible to apply for parole, that might just stop a guy throwing a punch," he said.

The Making Of A Detective has been shortlisted in the An Post Irish Book Awards in the Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year category.

It was published in September and is also one of the best-selling non-fiction books in Ireland.

Speaking after the news that it had been shortlisted, Mr Marry said: "I am delighted it has been shortlisted and that it has been so well received.

"All the feedback has been very positive. I would like to thank all the readers and my family and Penguin Ireland.

"I am really chuffed to be shortlisted. That in itself is an achievement which I am very proud of."

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