NewsCrime Desk

Monster who knifed his parents to death enjoys time out of Mountjoy

Crime DeskBy Patrick O'Connell
John Francis Dolan
John Francis Dolan

MONSTER John Francis Dolan – who butchered his parents with a kitchen knife following a furious family row – is back walking the streets of Dublin.

Our pictures show Dolan (42), walking unaccompanied through the streets following a day out from Mountjoy’s Training Unit to attend a training course.

The former Irish Rail worker – a jail-mate of convicted fraudster Breifne O’Brien– has served less than 15 years in prison for the killings that shocked Ireland.

When given the opportunity to express his remorse for the bloody slayings of mum Gertrude (56) and dad John (71), Dolan refused to discuss the killings or his new-found freedom.

“I can’t speak to you,” he told our reporter when we confronted him on Wednesday last.

“I’ve been advised not to speak with you.”

Dolan – who appears considerably older than his 42 years – was just 27 years old when, in 2001, he was found guilty of deliberately knifing his sickly 56-year-old mother Gertrude to death.

He was found not guilty of murdering his helpless 71-year-old father John, but was found guilty of his manslaughter.

After he knifed both parents he covered their bodies with a duvet and left them to decompose on the floor of the sitting room for over a week.

Their bodies were only discovered when flies swarming inside the windows of the family’s East Wall home aroused the suspicion of neighbours.

Dolan told his 2001 trial that he had killed both his parents after he and his mother engaged in an explosive argument over his lifestyle.   He said he had come home “after a few beers” and got in a shouting match with his mother.

“Me ma and I had a screaming match over why I finished at Irish Rail and what I was going to do with my life,” Dolan told Gardaí.

“Me da went to bed. I went out to the kitchen and picked a knife and went back to the sitting room. I stabbed me ma once in the right side.

“Me father came down the stairs and asked me what was after happening. He went straight over to me ma. Obviously he saw blood. I had the knife down by me side.

“I swung the knife and I caught me dad. I don’t know where. I think it was his left side.  Then I stuck it into him a few more times.”

Dolan told officers that the build-up to the killings had “been going on a very long time”.

He said: “She was a bitch and was always pissed.”

Dolan later cried in front of gardaí over the killings, saying: “I felt sorry for my father. He didn’t deserve that.”

Dolan claimed in court he could remember little about the stabbings except for the sound of the knife going into his mother.

“More words led to another and I just lost it. I just lost control,” he said.

“I went for me ma. I picked up the knife and went for her.”

Asked why by his defence counsel Barry White SC, he said: “I don’t know. Maybe I was fed up. I don’t know. It was totally out of character. I don’t remember doing it. I just remember the noise of the knife going in at the moment.”

Asked why he stabbed his elderly father, he replied: “I don’t know. It could have been shock.”

Dolan had denied murdering his parents between June 16 and 19, 1999, at the family home in Ravensdale Road, East Wall, Dublin.

The bodies were found under a blanket in the living room of the family home by Michael and Frank Power, Gertrude’s brothers, on June 28, 1999.

The deputy state pathologist said in evidence that both had been stabbed more than a week earlier and the bodies were badly decomposed. They were identified by dental records.

Flies at the window had made neighbours suspicious, and when the two brothers entered the house they found Dolan sitting in the living room with the bodies, smoking a cigarette.

Frank Power told the court that Dolan had said at the time, “I had to stab them”, and that he was very sorry for what he had done.

Gertrude Dolan had been “considerably intoxicated” at the time of her death, the court heard, and her husband had a “moderately high level of alcohol” in his blood.

He had been stabbed three times, and she had four wounds.

His parents were retired, but Gertrude had been receiving disability benefit payments because of ill-health. Dolan, known as Francie to family members, was their only child.

Gardaí gave evidence that Dolan, who formerly worked with Irish Rail and on an oil rig, said in an interview that the killings came after a row over him leaving his job.

The detective who questioned him said Dolan told him that, when his father went upstairs after a “screaming match”, he had taken a knife from the kitchen and stabbed his mother with it.

His father had then come downstairs and Dolan stabbed him.