“You have done a terrible, terrible thing, you wicked evil man”
On 28 August 1976 Elizabeth Plunkett, a 22-year-old from Ringsend, County Dublin was kidnapped from a caravan park in Brittas Bay, County Wicklow, Ireland. Thirty-two days later, her decaying body was found off the Wicklow coast. Mary Duffy was a 25-year-old Castlebar shop assistant, waiting for her brother to give her a lift home when she disappeared. John Shaw and Geoffrey Evans, two Britons whose fantasy was to rape and murder a woman a week, had abducted both women. They were on the run from police in the UK, where they were accused of raping three girls.
They quickly fell into a life of crime and spent a short time in Mountjoy jail after being convicted of a series of burglaries carried out in County Wicklow. They took Miss Duffy to a caravan park in Connemara, County Galway where she was hit so hard that her dental fillings were knocked from her teeth. She was tied to a tree and raped repeatedly for some 36 hours before the two men smothered her with a cushion and dumped her remains in Lough Inagh, County Galway.
Brittas Bay, County Wicklow, Ireland
Saturday 28 August 1976
As they planned their third victim in October 1976 the Gardai arrested the two men. When he was arrested Shaw was shamed into confessing by a young detective, Gerry O’Carroll, who told him, “You have done a terrible, terrible thing, you wicked evil man. Did you ever believe when you were a little boy that you would stoop to what you’ve done? We’re going to say a prayer together, you and I.” In February 1978, Shaw was convicted of the murder of Mary Duffy and sentenced to life imprisonment, 14 years for rape and two years for false imprisonment.
In December 1978 Evans was jailed for life for the murder of Mary Duffy plus 20 years for the rapes of Miss Duffy and Elizabeth Plunkett. In January 2009 Evans fell into a coma after a heart by-pass operation on 18 December 2008.