NewsCrime Desk

Serial killer Mark Nash on prison hunger strike in bid to force transfer

Crime DeskBy Eamon Dillon
Mark Nash
Mark Nash

Serial killer Mark Nash has been on a secret hunger strike in prison and has lost up to four stone.

Now the four-time murderer is in hospital after more than six weeks of starving himself.

The authorities are considering his demand to be transferred back to Arbour Hill Prison but a decision is not expected before next Wednesday.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, was told the prison authorities were considering Nash's application to be transferred back to Arbour Hill.

He has served 15 years of a life sentence in that jail for the murder in 1997 of two people in Ballintober, Co Roscommon.

The judge was told Nash, in a letter to the prison authorities, had said he had hidden the fact he had not taken any food since June 9th. 

The court was also told a psychiatric report said Nash, who is in hospital, was suicidal.

Last April, Nash (42) was given another life sentence after he was found guilty of the murders of Sylvia Sheils (59) and Mary Callanan (61) in 1997 at their sheltered housing in Grangegorman, Dublin. That sentence is to run from the date of his sentencing.

He was taken to Mountjoy Prison but his counsel, Hugh Hartnett SC, sought his return to Arbour Hill, arguing his client was under 23-hour lock-up at Mountjoy and his life was under threat from other prisoners.

During his 15 years in Arbour Hill, Nash settled down, and did not present any problems to authorities, Mr Hartnett said. While it is normal after sentencing to be lodged in Mountjoy, Nash had expected to be sent back to Arbour Hill.

After the application was refused, Nash brought High Court proceedings challenging the Irish Prison Service's refusal to transfer him back.

Since the action was launched in May, he has been moved to the Midlands Prison. Mr Justice Kearns adjourned the matter until Tuesday.