| 1.7°C Dublin

New law Eight notorious sex criminals released in Ireland in 2021 without electronic tags

Justice Minister Helen McEntee has published the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill, which will allow for sex offenders to electronically tagged and monitored.

Close

Robert Melia on his release

Robert Melia on his release

Robert Melia on his release

SERIAL sex-offender Robert Melia looked happy with himself as he stood around outside the Midlands Prison.

Pulling on cigarette he even spoke to two women who arrived at the reception area where he had been standing with his bags.

In June 2019 he looked completely different from his last public photograph, having lost much of his hair and put on weight.

Eventually the man who had served an eight-year sentence for his latest violent sex attack walked away, down the street to re-start his life outside prison.

One of the women attacked by Melia, Debbie Cole, has been leading calls for such sex attackers to be electronically tagged on their release.

She welcomed the news that a new bill being published this week will see a range of new measures being introduced to track convicted sex offenders.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee published the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill, which will allow for sex offenders to electronically tagged and monitored.

Few people understand the scale of the issue.

This year so far, more than 100 sex offenders have walked out of the Midlands Prison and Arbour Hill after finishing their sentences.

Another ten or so will be out before Christmas.

Some are picked up by friends or families, others by volunteers who work with newly-released prison and some just go and catch a train.

They are required to tell the gardaí where they are living and if they change address, otherwise they can go where they like.

Among those released in 2021 were Cork native Ian Horgan (36), a convicted killer and rapist, who was hugged by his girlfriend as he emerged from the prison gates in March where he served a stretch for robbery.

Close

Horgan freed in February after robbery conviction.

Horgan freed in February after robbery conviction.

Horgan freed in February after robbery conviction.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

But it was Horgan's killing and rape of Rachel Kiely in Ballincollig in 2000 that shocked the nation because of the brutality of the crime and his young age.

Horgan has spent most his life in prison with convictions for drugs and armed robbery as well as manslaughter and rape.

Serial sex offender Barry Watters also left prison in August this year after serving a sentence for exposing himself to children and possessing explicit sexual images of children.

Close

Barry Watters, serial sex offender, is released from Midlands Prison.

Barry Watters, serial sex offender, is released from Midlands Prison.

Barry Watters, serial sex offender, is released from Midlands Prison.

At his trial Judge Martina Baxter said Watters "seems to be taking a step further, coming out from behind the computer screen".

He had displayed "brazen exhibitionism" and was "targeting the most vulnerable people in society - children," said the judge.

In May, Alan Hanley who went on trial three times for the brutal rape of a woman was freed after eight years in jail.

Close

Alan Hanley walks free from Midlands Prison

Alan Hanley walks free from Midlands Prison

Alan Hanley walks free from Midlands Prison

The Limerick man had burned his victim's underwear and "hosed her down" in a shower in an attempt to remove any forensic evidence during the 2012 attack.

Hanley who remained unrepentant left the Midlands Prison in Co Laois where he was picked up by a person known to him and driven away.

Despite his 66 years Donegal paedophile Michael Ferry looked fit and alert when he got out in July this year.

Close

Michael Ferry

Michael Ferry

Michael Ferry

He was sentenced to 14 years behind bars in 2011 after pleading guilty to dozens of sex attacks on young boys at an Irish language college in Gweedore, west Donegal.

While waiting for a train, asked if he was travelling back to Donegal, he said: "I'll go where the authorities say."

Bogus talent agent Brendan Clifford also emerged from prison in July after serving is time for molesting two children in a hospital toilet.

Close

Clifford posed as a talent agent to gain access to the children

Clifford posed as a talent agent to gain access to the children

Clifford posed as a talent agent to gain access to the children

His actions to gain access to the kids by pretending to be a talent agent was described as “devious” and “perverse.”

He opted to stay silent when asked if he is still a danger to children after serving his three and half years in prison.

Similarly, child sex-abuser Reginald Arnold preferred to stay quiet when asked about his offending after his release earlier in January this year.

Close

Our exclusive photos show Arnold on his way from the prison

Our exclusive photos show Arnold on his way from the prison

Our exclusive photos show Arnold on his way from the prison

Frail Arnold the shuffled back to a car and sat inside, ready to restart his life after prison after a relative spoke to the Sunday World in an aggressive manner.

He had told his step-daughter he would "ride her" and tied her up with a belt and stripped her - got a nine-year sentence for the perverted attacks on the girl.

Such was the fear inspired by the release of Anthony Quigley in September this year no-one in his native Michelstown wanted to talk about it on the record.

Close

Anthony Quigley from Mitchelstown in Cork.

Anthony Quigley from Mitchelstown in Cork.

Anthony Quigley from Mitchelstown in Cork.

Described in court as a “menace to society” they fear Quigley will continue his reign of terror after walking free from prison.

The violent thug and sex pest — who has 26 convictions for crimes against women — was jailed for two years in 2019 for an unprovoked assault on motorist Amanda Donegan.

Quigley left the terrified woman badly battered after launching the assault while she parked her car in Mitchelstown, Co Cork.

Just a few weeks ago convicted killer Walter Morrissey emerged from prison unrepentant for his crime in which left a woman with injuries likened in court to being “raped with machete.”

Close

Walter Morrissey following his release from the Midlands Prison.

Walter Morrissey following his release from the Midlands Prison.

Walter Morrissey following his release from the Midlands Prison.

Despite losing his appeal against his 2013 conviction for the savage assault, the 78-year-old grandfather maintains his innocence and claims he was the victim of a conspiracy.

Two years before he savagely attacked the woman, Morrissey had hit the headlines following the death of his then partner, Lorraine White, in 2008.

Ms White died due to horrific internal injuries caused by a 10-inch copper pipe which had been inserted in her. Morrissey was questioned in connection with her death but never faced any charges.

Morrissey also served time for sexually assaulting a woman in the UK and in the 1970s served time for the manslaughter of a man and his young son after he drove over them.

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


Privacy