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Peter Pringle who was wrongly sentenced to death for killing two gardaí dies

Peter Pringle (84), originally from Killybegs, served 15 years in prison before being released in 1995 after his convictions were deemed unsafe and overturned.

Peter Pringle initially faced the death penalty and then spent 15 years in prison after he was wrongfully was convicted of murdering two gardaí. Photo: Tony Maxwell

Peter Pringle was released from prison in 1995 after his conviction was overturned

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

A man who was wrongfully convicted of murdering two gardaí in a Roscommon bank raid in the 1980s has died at his home in Co Galway.

Peter Pringle (84), originally from Killybegs in Donegal, served 15 years in prison before being released in 1995 after his convictions were deemed unsafe and overturned.

He was sentenced to death for the murders of gardaí John Morley and Henry Byrne during a bank robbery in Ballaghaderreen in July 1980 alongside Colm O’Shea and Pat McCann.

Pringle, O’Shea, and McCann each had their sentences commuted to penal servitude of 40 years by then-president Patrick Hillery in 1981.

O’Shea and McCann served 33 years behind bars and were released from jail in 2013.

Pringle, whose son Thomas is an Independent Donegal TD, spent 14 years and ten months in prison before the Court of Criminal Appeal found his convictions to be unsafe and unsatisfactory in 1995.

He pursued a number of civil actions against the State.

Peter Pringle was released from prison in 1995 after his conviction was overturned

In 2012, Pringle married Sunny Jacobs, who was similarly placed on death row in Florida in 1976 for the murder of two police officers, serving 17 years before her exoneration.

Following her release, Jacobs campaigned to end the death penalty and travelled to Ireland to speak at an Amnesty International event in 1998, where she met Pringle.

The pair lived in a cottage in Connemara for over a decade.

Peter Pringle died at his home in Glenicmurrin, Costelloe, Co Galway on New Year’s Eve.

He is survived by his wife Sunny, daughter Anna, sons Thomas and John, and his twelve grandchildren.

He will repose at Naughton’s funeral parlour in Inverin, Connemara, today from 5pm to 7pm and will be cremated on Tuesday following a ceremony in Shannon Crematorium.


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