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Sicko due out Double killer Frank McCann 'feels he's done his time'

Sicko burned family to death

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Smiling killer Frank McCann is snapped by our undercover team

Smiling killer Frank McCann is snapped by our undercover team

Smiling killer Frank McCann is snapped by our undercover team

Double killer Frank McCann's mouth curls in a cynical smirk as he spots a Sunday World photographer taking his picture.

Emerging through the metal door of Arbour Hill prison, a plastic bottle filled with cleaner fluid in one hand, he maintains the sardonic grin as he makes his way to the officers' quarters next door.

Sources say McCann, now in his 61st year, is seeing out his time as a jailhouse cleaner while desperately hoping his status as a 'trusted inmate' will see him gain further favour with the parole board.

His next appearance before the board will mark the fifth occasion on which he has attempted to secure his freedom during a 27-year stint behind bars.

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Frank killed his wife Esther and baby Jennifer

Frank killed his wife Esther and baby Jennifer

Frank killed his wife Esther and baby Jennifer

And it's a sign of his 'trusted' status within the system that he is allowed out of the prison grounds, while all other inmates are in 'lockdown,' as coronavirus continues to spread in the capital.

In the years pre-Covid, McCann secured leave to attend college courses outside the prison and sources say the evil killer is now confident his next trip before the parole board will be his last.

"He expects to get out soon," a source told the Sunday World.

"There is no doubt about that. McCann feels he has done his time.

"He believes the parole board and the Minister [for Justice] would have let him out years ago except they were afraid of the uproar it would have caused.

"But even now, there will be a backlash when he is released.

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Frank McCann leaves court during one of his trials

Frank McCann leaves court during one of his trials

Frank McCann leaves court during one of his trials

"The family of his victims have repeatedly said he shouldn't be released because they believe he is a psychopath.

"But he has played the part of a model prisoner for years, and with 27 years down, it will get harder and harder for the authorities to justify keeping him in here."

McCann's status as one of the most reviled criminals in the history of the Irish State was assured when he carried out the horrific and premeditated murders by fire of his wife Esther and their 18-month-old daughter Jennifer back in 1992.

It was September of that year when McCann knew, for sure, that a dark secret from his sordid past was about to become known to his family.

The supposedly respectable swimming coach had fathered a child with a 17-year-old girl with special needs.

He had managed to keep it a secret, but with the authorities doing a background check on him as part of his and wife Esther's application to adopt toddler Jessica, he was about to be exposed.

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Murder victim Esther McCann with Esther (niece) and murderer Frank McCann

Murder victim Esther McCann with Esther (niece) and murderer Frank McCann

Murder victim Esther McCann with Esther (niece) and murderer Frank McCann

A better man might have confessed, or simply got into his car and driven away.

But McCann gloried in his image as a respected swimming coach.

And so, unwilling to allow his reputation be tarnished, he made the twisted decision to kill both Esther and Jessica to hide the truth.

The little girl, Jessica, that McCann and Esther planned to adopt was the daughter of Frank's adopted sister, Jeanette, who grew up with him, his brothers and parents in Terenure.

Jeanette, then aged around 18, had asked Frank and Esther to adopt Jessica shortly after her birth in March 1991.

She and Jessica lived with the couple for a few months, and in May 1991 they applied to adopt her.

Later, Esther told her sister that she planned on having it out with Frank over unexplained delays in their application to adopt Jessica.

She was not aware that McCann was stalling because it would reveal the real truth about his double life.

Explosion

By September 1992, as far as Esther knew, there was still no decision from the Adoptions Board, and Esther repeatedly rang for news of the application.

Unknown to her, the mother of the teenage girl he'd fathered a child with had complained to the Adoptions Board.

The couple's application was rejected.

But Esther didn't know this when she was given an appointment for September 7.

Getting the appointment would prove fatal as her husband moved on his cold blooded plan.

On September 4, 1992 he set up a gas cylinder and a blowtorch in the house on Butterfield Avenue and went to work in his Blessington pub.

Esther and Jessica died in the blaze caused by the ensuing explosion with Frank playing the distraught husband when he arrived back at the scene having been alerted to the emergency.

Gardai believe this was Frank McCann's third or fourth attempt to kill Esther and Jessica.

Prior to the fire, Esther woke one night to find the electric blanket on her bed on fire.

Brakes

On another occasion, she had to leave the house with Jessica due to a suspected gas leak.

It was later found the leak had been caused by somebody deliberately separating the gas points beneath floorboards.

Esther also once drove her car away from her sister's house only to find that the brakes weren't working. The attempts to kill were always made when Esther was with Jessica.

During the Garda investigation into the fire, McCann attempted to blame someone with a personal vendetta against him.

He also tried to blame his wife, whom he claimed might have been smoking in the house and started the blaze that night.

On the day of the funeral, McCann behaved bizarrely. He insisted that the family shouldn't wear black, and while being driven to the home of a relative of Esther's for food following the funeral service, he looked out of the car at local girls and shouted: "I'm a free man!" That evening, he returned to Dublin to attend a surprise 60th birthday party that he had organised for his mother.

Insurance

Just weeks later, he went on holiday to California, leaving Esther's family to pay for the funeral costs, despite having received a payout from the insurance company following the fire.

McCann was arrested and charged in April 1993, around the same time that his close pal and swimming coach colleague George Gibney was being charged with sexual abuse offences.

His first trial, in 1994, fell apart when he tried to set fire to himself with a gas lighter in a toilet at the Four Courts. It was 1996 before a second trial got under way.

In August that year, McCann was found guilty and sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for the murders.

For wife Esther's sister the thought that McCann could soon be allowed back on the streets is unfathomable.

Marion Leonard said this week: "Frank McCann has not changed since he went into prison. He is an expert at deception and leading a double life, and is a convicted killer of an innocent woman and child.

"He should not be released."