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Outrage as garda killer walks free just four years into his seven-year term


Martin McDermott

Martin McDermott

Martin McDermott

A GARDA killer celebrated his release with friends last night after being given just 14 days extra behind bars for escaping from prison.

Martin McDermott was released from the Midlands Prison, four years into a seven-year sentence for killing Garda Gary McLoughlin in Co Donegal in 2009.

Plans for a party in the home of a friend of McDermott's in Raphoe were thwarted however. Around a dozen local people gathered in the town making it clear they were unhappy with his return.

They left after two hours after being given assurances the 29-year-old would not return there last night.

Gda McLoughlin (24) died in hospital a day after McDermott, who had 91 previous convictions, rammed his patrol car in Burt in December 2009.

McDermott was speeding towards Derry when he steered his stolen Opel Astra into Gda McLoughlin's patrol car.

He was jailed for seven years in July 2011 after being found guilty of manslaughter.

There was uproar when he escaped from the low-security open prison at Loughan House in Co Cavan just eight months later. He had just 14 days added to his prison sentence for that escape.

Last night Garda McLoughlin's colleagues reacted with anger to news of his release from prison, 21 months early.


Gda Brendan O'Connor of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) called for specialist legislation to protect gardai in the line of duty.

"My first thoughts are with the McLoughlin family, who are still mourning the loss of a beloved son and brother, and also with Gary's colleagues and friends at Buncrana Garda Station where he was based," said O'Connor.

"Mr McDermott is returning to his family, but Gary's family will never have him back.

"The GRA has consistently called for robust legislation with mandatory sentencing to protect our members.

"It is a damming indictment of current legislation that an individual who took the life of a courageous young garda ... will walk free after such a short period of time."

There was anger too in Raphoe where many victims of McDermott's previous crimes live.

"He's not wanted here and he'd be better to stay away," said one man.

McDermott was arrested after his escape in Derry by PSNI officers in March 2013.

He was later jailed for four months for assaulting police during his arrest in the city.

Derry Magistrates Court heard it took four police officers using two sets of handcuffs to restrain him.