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Prison release Plastic bag killer Rachel Comiskey out after less than four years in jail

Woman who was part of a duo who suffocated their friend is released back on the streets after serving less than four years in prison


Rachel Comiskey, released from prison

Rachel Comiskey, released from prison

Rachel Comiskey, released from prison

PLASTIC BAG killer Rachel Comiskey is back on the streets of the capital after serving less than four years in prison for suffocating her friend to death.

Our pictures show the glammed-up 39-year-old grinning as she walked out of an outreach centre in Dublin on Friday - two days after being released from the Dochas Centre women's prison.

Comiskey and co-accused Anne Marie Pezzillo were given six-year sentences in May 2018 for the manslaughter of Ian Quinn - backdated to when the pair first entered custody a month earlier.

But Comiskey has now been released from the Dochas, after serving just three years and nine months for the killing, with sources saying her release is part of an outlook programme designed to give female criminals the best possible shot at re-integrating into society.

Comiskey had 18 previous convictions for offences including intoxication, possession of stolen property and failure to appear in court when she and Pezzillo killed Ian Quinn on May 31, 2014.

The macabre nature of drug user Ian Quinn's death was first revealed by the Sunday World in the weeks after the 2014 killing - when Anne Marie Pezzillo gave an interview to this newspaper confessing she and Comiskey had killed him.

Ms Pezzillo passed away last September.


Anne Marie Pezzillo speaking to the Sunday World in 2014

Anne Marie Pezzillo speaking to the Sunday World in 2014

Anne Marie Pezzillo speaking to the Sunday World in 2014

Pezzillo had been released from Limerick Prison and gone to stay with Comiskey on the Wednesday prior to the killing - with 32-year-old victim Ian joining them the following day.

All three had problems with addiction to drugs and alcohol and significant quantities of both were consumed over the following days.

On Saturday morning, May 31, at about 3am a man came upon the two women outside the apartment shouting for a mobile phone.

Comiskey rang emergency services and said she and Pezzillo were asleep and when they woke up, Mr Quinn was dead.

When the emergency services arrived, Mr Quinn's body was in a bedroom dressed in boxer shorts.

At the scene one of the women said "we had a bag over his head", and when they spoke to gardaí they said they had been drinking vodka for two days and taking tranquillisers.

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Comiskey later told gardaí that Mr Quinn was "swinging me around the place" and that they put a bag over his head and said: "How do you like it?"


Ian Quinn

Ian Quinn

Ian Quinn

She also said that she put holes in the bag to allow him to breathe and both women maintained that they had not intended to kill him - but wanted to frighten him.

The two women were arrested and questioned but subsequently released from custody.

About one week later an article appeared on the front page of the Sunday World in which Pezzillo admitted her role in the killing.

She said all three of them had been drinking and taking tablets and fell asleep.

When they woke up Mr Quinn had wet himself and Comiskey took his jeans and top off. Mr Quinn became annoyed and a fight broke out.

Pezzillo thought Mr Quinn was going to hit Comiskey so she intervened but was struck in the face.

They put two bags over his head and said to him: "How do you like it?"

She said they did it for "just a few seconds" and afterwards they thought he had passed out.

The two women went to bed and when they woke up they realised he was dead and called emergency services. She said they did not intend to kill him.

In interviews with gardaí, Pezzillo accepted that what was said in the article was largely true.

Pezzillo had 112 previous convictions including for theft, criminal damage, handling stolen goods and disorderly conduct.

Both women wrote letters to the court expressing their remorse for the killing.

Michael Bowman SC for Pezzillo said that she had drunk four bottles of vodka and taken tablets and that their intention was to frighten, not kill.

His client started taking drugs aged 13 and was living rough by the age of 18.

He said the statements made by Pezzillo were of critical importance to the prosecution.

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy stated that the cause of death was "undetermined", the court heard.

In her letter Pezzillo said she felt remorse, sorrow and shame for what she did and if she could swap places with Ian, she would.

Tara Burns SC for Comiskey told the court her client had a very good family and had opportunities but took a wrong track in her teens, began drinking and quickly moved on to tablets and then heroin.

Her mother wrote to the court to describe the difficulties the family suffered because of her poor behaviour and drug taking.

However, she has made improvements in prison and has undergone a dramatic improvement in her outlook on life.

In her letter to the court she said she wanted to express her remorse to the Quinn family, her own family and to the gardaí.

She said that she met Ian at a bus stop on O'Connell Street, Dublin, when she was 18 and loved him ever since.

They had their ups and downs with drugs and living on the streets and she would never have done anything to harm him on purpose, she added.

"We went through everything together," she wrote.

Telling the court she was sorry for what happened, she added that she was in court to face the consequences of her actions.

She said she wished she had quit drink and drugs earlier.

Sean Gillane SC for the prosecution read an impact statement on behalf of the Quinn family.

They said that Mr Quinn was the eighth in a family of 13.

He was a kind and loving person but had taken a wrong path by taking drugs. Their family has been devastated by his death and they will never recover from it, they said.

Sentencing the killers, Justice Patrick McCarthy said the mitigating factors in the case were their guilty pleas and interviews they gave to gardaí detailing what happened on the night Mr Quinn died.

Justice McCarthy sentenced Pezzillo to eight years, with two suspended, and Comiskey to six years, with none suspended.

The Irish Prison Service declined to comment on the specific circumstances of Comiskey's release when contacted on Friday.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: "Following an assessment process, women are moved from the Dochas Centre to live at the Outlook Programme in order to progress their positive sentence management.

"The women are required to be drug-free and have, in general, been convicted of one-off offences."

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