NewsCrime Desk

Black Widow gets life back on track after jail

Julie Mcginley
Julie Mcginley

THIS is notorious killer Julie McGinley almost two decades on from when she helped bludgeon her husband to death.

The Black Widow (48), was pictured running errands in Belfast city centre this week, looking nothing like a cold-hearted killer who was once dubbed a “devious liar” by a senior judge.

Today the Sunday World can reveal how the mum-of-two – who served over 15 years for husband Gerry’s brutal murder – has carved out the perfect life for herself one year after being fully released from prison.

We can also reveal she hopes to work with vulnerable teenagers at risk of going to prison.

And she is being supported by her soon-to-be husband – former BBC producer Louis Edmondson – with whom she is lives in a terraced house in Belfast.

The TV veteran – who fell for McGinley while he was shooting a documentary – is said to be the killer’s “rock” and has been supporting her attempts to reinvent herself after being convicted of one the country’s most shocking murders.

Next month will mark 17 years since the former prostitute and her then lover, Michael Monaghan, murdered 34-year-old Gerry at their Co. Fermanagh home in August 2000.

After the murder, Gerry’s body was dumped in woodland across the border at Ballinamore in Co. Leitrim, where it lay until its discovery 10 months later.

However, the cold-hearted killing now seems a distant memory for blonde McGinley, who looked like she didn’t have a care in the world as she stepped out last week.

The Sunday World snapped McGinley – who is driving a new sporty Vauxhall car – visiting a number of businesses last week, including the government- owned Youth Agency.

It is understood the murderer has been working with the intervention group that works with children who have offended or are at serious risk of committing crime.

It is believed McGinley, dubbed the Black Widow, has already been working with a youth group in the Belfast area.

The organisation is aware of her grisly past, but she is hoping to secure enough credentials to eventually land a job.

The news will no doubt sicken her late husband’s family. In 2013 it was revealed prison bosses had given her the go-ahead to spend weekends with lover Edmondson on a phased release programme.

Despite still serving a life sentence, she was able to enjoy days away, afternoon shopping trips and cosy nights with the media man.

The Enniskillen mum-of-two even had her own car parked right outside the jail doors. Edmondson – who hosts a morning phone-in show on Belfast-based 89FM radio station – risked his career after being smitten by McGinley while making a film for the Beeb about life behind bars.

The documentary never saw the light of day as TV bosses gave him a grilling after learning he had fallen for the killer.

Edmondson proposed soon after, presenting McGinley with a huge diamond ring, and they are now planning a low-key wedding.

McGinley began plotting her first husband’s demise in the summer of 1999 when she took out a £310,000 life insurance policy on him.

The following year she and lover Monaghan paid a hitman for hire £4,000 as a down payment for carrying out the killing.

After a botched attempt to frame Gerry by planting drugs in his car, the pair realised they couldn’t raise enough money to pay the shooter and concocted a plan to carry it out themselves.

 It emerged McGinley had worked as a prostitute in the Republic and had been involved in a sex-tape blackmail scam targeting wealthy businessmen.

During interviews she denied her sordid double life and denied she had plotted to have Gerry killed.

But she failed to convince a jury and the pair were convicted in 2002.

A subsequent Court of Appeal judgment condemned her pathetic attempts to cover up the truth.

Addressing McGinley’s portrayal of her husband being a wife-beating monster who forced her to have sex with other men, Lord Justice Nicholson said: “There is no means of knowing the extent to which her story of her relationship with her husband is true, but having heard her in the witness box we are satisfied that she would lie and lie again to serve her own purposes.”

He concluded: “It is apparent from perusal of the transcripts of [police] interviews that she was shrewd, devious and quick-witted.”