| 9.4°C Dublin

Cold-hearted Chilling voice of sick wife murderer Colin Whelan to be broadcast for first time

Killer's 999 call revealed as detective recalls how he solved the mystery of Mary Gough's death by evil husband


Colin and Mary had been married for just six months when he killed her

Colin and Mary had been married for just six months when he killed her

Colin and Mary had been married for just six months when he killed her

A chilling recording of a murderer lying to the emergency services about his wife falling down the stairs is to be broadcast for the first time.

Cold-hearted Colin Whelan strangled Mary Gough, his wife of just six months, using a cord hidden in a towel to disguise the ligature wounds to her neck.

The evil fiend was found to have researched the method used by an American serial killer, and in the lead-up to the murder had taken out a life insurance policy on 27-year-old Mary for IR£400,000.

But Whelan (29) feigned innocence when he first made a 999 call about his wife's 'accident' in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, on February 28, 2001.

"Hi, I need an ambulance, my wife is after falling down the stairs," Whelan told a base controller.


Retired detective Pat Marry

Retired detective Pat Marry

Retired detective Pat Marry

Asked if she was conscious, he replied: "I don't think so, what can I do, I don't think she's breathing."

Whelan claimed he could not get any reaction even after performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

"There's nothing, will the ambulance be long?" Whelan pleaded. "If you ring the guards or something they might know."

Mary, who was from Stamullen, Co Meath, was declared dead on arrival at Beaumont hospital in Dublin.

Retired detective inspector Patrick Marry, who was a member of An Garda Siochána for 33 years from 1985 until 2018, was assigned to investigate Mary's death.

"Somehow things didn't add up and didn't sit well," he recalls.

"We took a statement off Colin. He explained in a statement that himself and Mary were at home that night, sitting watching TV, Mary had gone up to have a shower and he said he had heard 'thump, thump, thump' and that he came out and she had fallen down the stairs... and she was lying unconscious."

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

He said a nurse in the hospital who went to sympathise with Colin noticed a scratch mark on his chest and he claimed Mary must have "flailed".

Ambulance crew were questioned and they said Mary was wrapped in a duvet and a towel was positioned near her head.

Her body was found to be cold to the touch and there was no response when they tried to jump her heart, which was unusual if she had died in the period of time her husband had claimed.

State pathologist Marie Cassidy performed an autopsy and afterwards told the detective sergeant: "Pat, you have a murder on your hands."

Chief Supt Dominic Hayes was a detective inspector at the time, attached to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

He and Pat Marry got a search warrant to carry out a trawl of Whelan's computer at his workplace, the Irish Permanent on St Stephen's Green in Dublin, where he worked in IT as a programmer.

His hard drive had been wiped. Investigators then accessed the company's main computer to trace information on its backup system. What they found stunned them.

Searches had been performed by Whelan such as "how to asphyxiate", "manual strangulation", "loss of consciousness" and "locking windpipe". They were also shocked to find Whelan had also researched a serial killer in North Carolina, who disguised strangulation marks by hiding a cord in a towel.

Whelan was arrested and charged with murder, but he was bailed and told to surrender his passport and sign on every day at his local garda station.

A year later his empty car was found overlooking the sea on the hill of Howth, with an empty bottle of gin positioned on the passenger seat.

Gardai suspected Whelan had faked his own death and he completely vanished until a female Irish tourist got talking to a barman in Mallorca in July 2004, who told her his name was Cian Sweeney.

The woman was stunned when she recognised Whelan's picture in a newspaper as the barman she met in Majorca and she got in touch with the gardai.

Arrangements were made to extradite Whelan from Spain and he told Pat Marry that the guards were lucky to get him as a week later he was going to move to Singapore on his fake passport.

Whelan pleaded guilty in court in 2005 to murdering his wife and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

"In my time I have never come across [anyone] as devious and calculating," says Pat Marry. "This case was the making of me as a detective and investigator."

  • The Case I Can't Forget - The Murder of Mary Gough is on RTE1 on Wednesday at 9.35pm.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Top Videos