Killer Pearse McAuley freed from jail after serving time for horror attack on TD ex-wife

Pearse McAuley at court

Pearse McAuley leaving Castlerea Prison

Eamon Dillon

Garda killer Pearse McAuley walked free from prison today after serving his time for a brutal knife attack on his ex-wife.

He stabbed Pauline Tully, now a Sinn Féin TD, 13 times in 2014.

McAuley had previously served a sentence for killing Det Garda Jerry McCabe in 1996.

They had met in the same prison in Castlerea where she had been visiting another republican prisoner and were married in 2003.

He walked from the Co Roscommon lock-up this morning sporting a baseball cap, sunglasses while wearing a mask to hide his face.

The driver of northern-reg white SUV, who also kept his face covered, helped him place his two bags in the boot of the car before driving away.

It was in stark contrast to his 2009 release which was greeted with a public statement and apology by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

McAuley and fellow gang member Kevin Walsh were taken from the prison gates in a van driven by then Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris to meet their families nearby.

Within five years of his release his wife Pauline Tully had to seek a protection order after he became violent towards her.

Then on Christmas Eve that year he subjected her to a prolonged two-and-a-half hour ordeal in which he beat and stabbed her at her Co Cavan home.

Earlier this year Ms Tully, now a Sinn Féin TD for Cavan/Monaghan spoke about how she hopes her ex-husband will stay away from her and their children.

“I just have to hope that he leaves us alone, basically,” she told The Glass Ceiling Podcast.

“I do have a protection order in place and I’m just hoping, well life has to go on for me anyway.

“I have no control over what he might do or might not do.

“I just have to be vigilant, I suppose, to see how things are and tell the boys to be the same and hope as I said, with the passage of time he won’t bother us.”

At the 2015 trial it was heard how the couple had separated the previous February and he was living in an apartment in Ballyconnell away from the family home

On the morning of the attack he had made arrangements with his wife to meet their children at her home.

However, she had turned up two hours early unannounced and drunk and attacked her.

He repeatedly knifed his estranged wife as she lay on the kitchen floor in a pool of her blood during the prolonged attack.

She eventually crawled away and alerted a neighbour who barely recognised her at first because of her injuries.

The neighbour went to brother Tommy’s home and alerted him who then found McAuley, with a boulder in his hands and was threatening the car in which Ms Tully had locked herself into.

McAuley was knocked out by her brother.

During the trial Ms Tully told how McAuley had threatened to kill her and she would be living in fear of her life for the rest of her life.

“My youngest son has said he looked through the glass panel and witnessed his father putting the knife into me. Children should never have seen such things.”

In her victim impact statement she said: “I am in absolute fear of him and fear that someday he will make another attempt on my life.

"I do not ever expect to enjoy a peaceful mind, but will live a life haunted by what happened to me.”

They had first met in Castlerea Prison where she had been visiting another republican prisoner who was being held in The Grove area of the jail.

McAuley had been sentenced to 14 years for his part in the Post Office raid in Adare, Co Limerick in 1996 in which Det Garda Jerry McCabe was shot dead.

The IRA, who escaped from Brixton Prison in 1991, was disowned by republicans following the attack on his wife.

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