Wok-wielding Killer in top chef Neven's kitchen
A man who is serving a life sentence for battering his teenage girlfriend with a wok and then choking her to death, is working in celebrity chef Neven Maguire's restaurant.
Gerard Graham arrived for work in the kitchen at MacNean Restaurant and Guesthouse in Blacklion, Co Cavan, early last Thursday, before leaving at 5pm to return to prison.
In 2002, Graham pleaded guilty to the murder of Clondalkin woman Charlene McAuliffe at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Graham was allocated the work detail by the Irish Prison Service (IPS), which works with a variety of bodies to aid the successful reintegration of prisoners into society after release from prison.
He is nearing the end of his life sentence, having already served 18 years behind bars for the murder which happened in October 1999, according to the Sunday World. He served the majority of his sentence in Wheatfield Prison.
However, in recent years he has been moved to Loughan House Open Centre, which is a low security prison.
In a statement to the Sunday World, Mr Maguire revealed he had been completely unaware of Graham's past.
"Loughan House is part of the community that I grew up in, live in and work in," the chef explained. "Since childhood I remember both of my parents working with Loughan House's rehabilitation programme. I have been proud to continue this tradition.
"I am not aware of the backgrounds of people who are placed with us and will never comment on any individual.
"We act totally on the advice and recommendations of Loughan House and will continue to do so," the big-hearted chef said.
Meanwhile, it is understood that Graham does not have any front-of-house duties in the restaurant or guesthouse.
"The idea is to give him enough work experience in a kitchen that he will be able to secure full-time employment when he qualifies for permanent release from prison," a source stated.
An inquest into the death of the victim heard that the 19-year-old was first struck with a heavy wok by the Dingle fisherman and afterwards choked by him because she knew too much about his involvement in drugs.
In his statement, Graham said that on the afternoon of October 2, 1999, in a house in Cork, he and his victim had resumed an argument they had the previous night.
He claimed she smirked at him, and he flipped and grabbed the wok.
Graham explained how he took his daughter to the annual blessing of the boats in Dingle the next day, but had still not decided how to dispose of the body.
Meanwhile, in a statement the IPS said: "There are many factors that aid the successful reintegration of prisoners into society post release from prison, including the securing of employment.
"The IPS works with statutory and voluntary agencies to help prisoners to make the transition from prison to the community.
"In addition, the IPS has developed important partnerships with businesses with a view to providing employment placements as part of the reintegration process.
"By working together, we decrease the likelihood of the prisoner reoffending, thus making our society safer," the statement added
Graham would be expected to qualify for full release on licence in the near future.
A friend of the deceased woman detailed in a statement to the inquest how Graham told her that Charlene "knew too much" about his drug involvement.