The Cannibal Murders

In March 1997, two mentally-ill women living in “sheltered housing” in Dublin were murdered in a savage attack during which the killer ritually mutilated their bodies. The crime, which came to be known as the Cannibal Murders, was plainly committed by a madman, and a forensic psychologist working on the case warned that the killer was likely to strike again.

The Gardai swung into action and in July they arrested Dean Lyons, a homeless heroin addict with psychiatric problems. They grilled him intensively and eventually he cracked. Lyons signed a confession containing such minute and excruciating detail that its author must have been present at the scene of the crime. The DPP duly charged him and Lyons went to prison on remand.

A month later, in Roscommon, a young couple were murdered in an identical manner. Their killing was attended by the same ritualistic mutilations as that of the two women in Dublin. The Gardai in Galway were quick to solve the case and soon had a man in custody for the killings. In addition to admitting the killings of the Roscommon couple, Mark Nash, from England, made a statement confessing to the Dublin murders, and he described in detail the interior of the Dublin house and the manner of the killing, including the sadistic details of what had been done to the women’s bodies.

Despite this confession, Dean Lyons was kept in prison for another seven months before the charges against him were finally dropped. He’s dead now. He died in prison in England after a conviction for shop-lifting to feed his habit.

Now. Here was a man with a vulnerable and highly suggestible personality. With an extreme fear of authority figures such as policemen. A heroin addict. A weak mentality. Some would say a scumbag. But not a murderer. And yet, he came to sign a confession while in police custody. A confession that described in microscopic detail what had happened in a house he had never entered, and in the course of a crime he had not witnessed.

So how on earth did he come by this information?

Was he psychic?

If you were a senior policeman, wouldn’t you be wondering how he came to sign such a confession? Wouldn’t you be wondering how your subordinates allowed him to remain in prison for months after they knew the real killer had been caught? Well, apparently not. The Gardai carried out an internal investigation, the results of which were never published. Nobody was ever disciplined and nobody was charged with the murders of the two women, despite Mark Nash’s having confessed to them.

Good, good, good. That’s the way the cops are in Ireland, it seems.

Finally, eight years later, in 2005, the government appointed a senior barrister, George Birmingham, to chair a commission of inquiry into the case. He finished his report last year and though it was supposed to be published in September last year it wasn’t released to the public. Somebody within the investigation team was obviously worried, because a journalist, Mick McCaffrey, came into possession of certain details in the report. He revealed among other things, that some investigating officers were unhappy with the charging of Dean Lyons, but were overruled by their superiors.

What was the outcome of all this? After all, here we had a disgraceful situation. A vulnerable man who confessed to a crime he never committed. Nobody charged with the crime, in spite of a credible confession from a known murderer. The results of an internal investigation suppressed. The official inquiry’s report gathering dust and never released to the public. An absolute disgrace crying out for action.

Well, at long last the authorities have acted. Yesterday, they arrested the journalist.

That’s Ireland for you. Watch out soon for mass arrests of the dogs in the street.


The Cannibal Murders Revisited

police and thieves

The Heart of Darkness

Worst police force in Europe

Three tragic deaths

The Cannibal Murders

Anti-social behaviour orders

Do You Know Your Daddy’s a Murderer?

Non-lethal weapons

Oh those funny old Guards

The Professionals

Losing hearts and minds


10 thoughts on “The Cannibal Murders

  1. it’s a wonder Cynthia Owens didn’t get arrested the other day for wasting valuable police time…..

  2. Fucking fuck-faced fuckers. This (most recent) atrocity makes me so angry that all of my usual erudite eloquence and well-reasoned views have abandoned me. All I could think of as I listened it it on the wireless all week was… Fucking fuck-faced fuckers.

  3. Why the surprise Bock ? If you remember the infamous Beef Tribunal , the only person charged with any wrong doing was the journalist who first broke the story.
    I always imagine that Haughey said ‘If the want a Tribunal to investigate my buddys , I’ll give them the most ineffective, most expensive fucking Tribunal ever, oh and by the way, nail the fucking journalist !’

  4. Thanks Bock, excellent stuff. I couldn’t figure out (nor did I have the energy to try) why Mick McCaffery was arrested. Here’s a thing though, and I’ve had this discussion with people too many times, and never reached a conclusion. My kids hang out with the kids of police. There’s a policeman who drinks in my local and occasionally brings in some police friends of his. And when I was a king and played sport badly, there were fellas playing on my teams who were in Templemore. So, here are my questions. Should I stop my kids playing with the rozzer’s kids, should I change my pub and when did my young cop friends became rotten and corrupt? Or is it just like our politicians, in that we get the police force we deserve.

    Yer man Widigery spoke about the appalling vista when he fucked up on the Birmingham six, so senior police all over are under pressure for a result. But that said, my pal told me this morning that the community guard (a fella on a bicycle) stopped him, and chatted for about 20 minutes about this and that, who’d doing drugs, where the scum bags are coming out of, and what struck us both was (not the guard’s fist), but that this was OK (the conversation), he didn’t wreck heads or come across smart alecy, there was no power thing.

    I think fundamentally the question is do we need to be policed? Personally I couldn’t give a flying fuck for the Man and his fucking systems, and I could happily live my own fucking life the way I want to, and not fuck with anyone else’s, and teach my children the same basic fucking philosophy. I think, from what you say, you could as well and it sounds like the bullshitters are of a similar vain. So why do we need fucking police? That’s the real question, and I’m not being naive.

    The debate is good, thanks for the opportunity.


  5. Excellent piece Bock. Have given you a good kicking. Am now off to apply for job with the Gardai

  6. Unfortunatly this is all too true. I was actually convicted in court of failure to comply when I did breath into the machine and was not given a second chance.

    I have had enough of this shitty backward country and I am leaving late next year to emigrate to a beautiful land of milk and honey. Its going to be sad leaving my family but I really cannot take the backward and outdated views in Ireland anymore.


  7. All i can say is thank god we have’nt had the kind of prolific killers they seem to produce in America or we’d be totally screwed,our police force just dont have the kind of insight or ambition needed to catch these kinds of criminals,as we have seen in the Mark Nash case and the numerous missing women accross the country the Gardai have failed to indentify a profile of the killer let alone an indentification so he will be free to carry on.

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