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back on the streets Killer who shot his victim at house party is released from prison

Our picture shows the convicted killer loading his bags into the back of a car outside Portlaoise Prison shortly before noon last Thursday after serving a 15-year stretch for manslaughter.

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Killer Leigh Crowe is seen loading bags into a car at Portlaoise Prison

Killer Leigh Crowe is seen loading bags into a car at Portlaoise Prison

Killer Leigh Crowe is seen loading bags into a car at Portlaoise Prison

Shotgun killer Leigh Crowe was released from prison last week - after avoiding punishment for a last minute booze-up behind bars.

Our picture shows the convicted killer loading his bags into the back of a car outside Portlaoise Prison shortly before noon last Thursday after serving a 15-year stretch for manslaughter.

Crowe (46) had spent the last year of his sentence in Loughan House Open Centre in Roscommon but was moved back to high-security Portlaoise Prison the previous weekend after he was discovered in an intoxicated condition by staff.

Authorities did not, however, have the option of delaying Crowe's release over the incident and he was released as planned last Thursday.

Crowe, the biological father of Dancing With the Stars contestant and former boyband singer Dayl Cronin, was originally convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to life in prison in 2007.

The father-of-two, of Elm Park, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, had pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court in 2007 to the manslaughter of 25-year-old Owen Cahill and the attempted murder of Mark Doolan at a party on April 2, 2006.

He also admitted assault causing harm to Sharon Rossiter at the same party in a house on the outskirts of Clonmel.

The trial was told that Crowe was one of two masked men who entered the house that night, each armed with shotguns.

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Leigh Crowe admitted the manslaughter of Owen Cahill

Leigh Crowe admitted the manslaughter of Owen Cahill

Leigh Crowe admitted the manslaughter of Owen Cahill

Crowe's accomplice David Ryan walked up to Mr Cahill and shot him in the face at point blank range. Mr Cahill died "almost instantaneously". Mr Doolan managed to distract the gunmen momentarily but then received a gunshot wound to the upper right arm from a shotgun fired by Leigh Crowe, while Ms Rossiter was struck with the butt of a gun by David Ryan.

Both men then fled the scene, leaving behind one of the shotguns.

Crowe was arrested a short time later in Clonmel and taken to Clonmel Garda Station.

In the course of subsequent interviews Crowe requested that gardai turn off the tape recorder and tell him what evidence they had against him.

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On being informed that gardai were in possession of a statement from a witness in the house who had identified him, Crowe responded that this was 'bullshit' - adding he had been wearing a balaclava and gloves and was therefore unrecognisable.

Mr Justice Paul Carney sentenced Crowe to life for the killing of Mr Cahill and imposed concurrent sentences of 15 years for attempting to murder Mr Doolan and five for assaulting Ms Rossiter.

Crowe appealed against the severity of the life sentence.

During his appeal, Michael O'Higgins SC, for Crowe, had argued that Mr Justice Carney had erred by imposing a life sentence after his client pleaded guilty.

Crowe had not shot Mr Cahill but admitted manslaughter because he went to the house on what was a joint enterprise, he said.

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Crowe was moved after being found drunk

Crowe was moved after being found drunk

Crowe was moved after being found drunk

Counsel said Crowe was shot in front of his family 18 months earlier during an incident in which he believed Mr Cahill was involved.

That incident had resulted in Crowe abusing alcohol and drugs as he had fears over his safety.

The Court of Criminal Appeal, consisting of Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, sitting with Mr Justice Eamonn De Valera and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, agreed to quash the life sentence and impose one of 20 years.

The judges said Crowe was entitled to a finite term in prison because his plea of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility, which had been accepted by the DPP, had not been taken into account when the life sentence was imposed by Mr Justice Paul Carney.

Leigh Crowe's biological son Dayl Cronin, a former member of the Louis Walsh-managed boyband Hometown and contestant on Dancing with the Stars, has distanced himself from his father, saying he has nothing to him.

In an interview given in 2014, Dayl, from Tipperary, said he never had any relationship with his biological dad.

The talented singer and dancer said he was forced to speak up about Crowe when he discovered that false reports about his background and upbringing were being circulated.

Dayl said he was raised by his mother Angela and Michael O'Connor, who he considers to be his real dad.

"Michael has raised me and was always there for me and is my role model and my father," the popstar said.

"I don't know that other man. I've never seen him and I wouldn't know him if I passed him in the street.

"I have no idea what he looks like and my mother broke up with him when I was about two months old," he added.

"I wasn't aware of him going to jail - I think I was making my Confirmation at the time.

"It was never hidden from me and I never mentioned it because it's irrelevant to me," he said.

Dayl decided to tell his story because it came to light that there were stories with inaccurate information circulating.

"I was told there was a letter and then I heard it was a phone call, but apparently someone said I had a terrible upbringing, that I was dragged through ditches growing up and I was visiting this man in prison - none of which is true," he said.

"I had a feeling it might come out now that I'm in a band. I suppose there are some jealous people about that want their own five minutes of fame."

In the wake of his successful stints with Hometown and Dancing With The Stars, Dayl went on to found his own highly successful dance academy in Cork, the Dayl Cronin Dance Academy.

Killer Leigh Crowe became eligible for release on Thursday last because he automatically qualified for remission of 25 per cent off his sentence regardless of any behavioural issues behind bars.

Crowe's co-conspirator in the killing of Owen Callaghan, David Ryan, fell to his death in Germany less than a year after the killing.

According to a subsequent police report, Ryan was heavily intoxicated when he fell from a third floor hotel room.

The 25-year-old had been questioned in connection with the shooting but had not yet been charged at the time of his death.

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