Family of murdered woman believe gardai talking to the wrong man
Sat, Nov 30, 2002, 00:00
Five years after the murder of Galway taxi-driver Eileen Costello- O’Shaughnessy, her family believes that the Garda has the “wrong suspect”. Mr Martin Costello, the taxi-driver’s brother, and her mother, Nora, are convinced that the culprit is still at large.
Ms Costello-O’Shaughnessy was found dead in a lane off the Tuam-Galway road on December 1st, 1997, having failed to return home from work the night before.
The murder is still unsolved, in spite of exhaustive Garda investigations.
One of the first people to be questioned has turned out to be the current suspect in the case. Thomas Murray, a convicted murderer who killed retired school-teacher Nancy Nolan while on parole in February 2000, was questioned again over a year ago at Roscommon Garda station. Murray had been convicted in December 2000 of Ms Nolan’s murder at her home in Ballygar on the Galway-Roscommon border. He was originally convicted of the murder of an elderly man, William Mannion, also in Ballygar, in 1981.
After the second conviction, the then Minister for Justice, Mr O’Donoghue, initiated an inquiry into how Murray came to be on parole. The Olden report criticised the decision to free him against the advice of the Garda and the prison authorities. Murray was out of prison at the time of Ms Costello-O’Shaughnessy’s death, working on a building site near Merlin Park in Galway.
Mr Costello will mark his sister’s death with a fifth anniversary Mass at Corofin, Co Galway, this evening, along with family members including his mother and the taxi-driver’s two grown-up children, Susan and Damien.
Mr Costello told The Irish Times several people requested by gardaí to give fingerprints had refused. “In my view, they are still suspects until they are eliminated,” he said. The Garda had kept in close contact with the family throughout the investigation, he said, but he now believed they were looking at the “wrong man”.
Mrs Costello, who was 80 earlier this year, said she always had the feeling that her daughter knew her killer “and she wouldn’t have known this man”.
“If Thomas Murray did it, he has nothing to lose by confessing because he is in prison for life.”
Chief Supt Tom Monaghan of the Galway division said matching fingerprints was not the only way of eliminating suspects and several people who had declined to give fingerprints had been eliminated for other reasons. Gardaí were keeping an open mind on the case.
“This investigation is very much alive, is ongoing and it will not be lost sight of until such time as a conviction is obtained,” he added.
New leads in 20 year old murder
Posted December 14, 2017
INVESTIGATING Gardaí are currently following up on a number of calls they received in relation to the brutal murder of Galway taxi driver Eileen Costello O’Shaughnessy twenty years ago.
Gardaí in Mill Street in Galway have confirmed to The Connacht Tribune that “several calls” were received following a reconconstruction of the events surrounding her death back in 1997 that were part of a recent Crimecal programme on RTE.
And in another twist, the brother murdered taxi driver Eileen Costello O’Shaughnessy says that he doesn’t want to go to his grave without his sister’s killer being found.
In the aftermath of the reconstruction of the crime to coincide with the 20th anniversary of her brutal murder, her brother Martin Costello in Corofin has made an impassioned plea for anyone with information to come forward.
He said that he didn’t want to go the grave not knowing who murdered Eileen and why. “Twenty years on and we are no closer to finding out who killed her,” Martin told The Connacht Tribune.
But it has now emerged that, on foot of the RTE programme, a number of calls were made to the Gardaí and a spokesman in Mill Street told the Connacht Tribune that each of these were being followed up.
“I can confirm that several calls were made over the past week and each one is being followed up. At the moment we cannot say what the nature of the calls were but we are hoping that they may progress this ongoing investigation.
“Every call that has been received is now being thoroughly followed up on and we would like to thank those who have made the effort to make contact. It is obvious that the reconstruction has jogged a few memories and hopefully it may help our inquiries,” the Garda spokesperson added
Her former colleagues on the taxi rank in Galway city have also made countless pleas for information to come forward in the hope of making a vital breakthrough two decades later.
Forty-seven year old Eileen’s body was found in a laneway off the N17 at Tiner’s Lane on November 30, 1997.
The mother of two collected her last fare at around 8pm that evening to Claregalway and two hours later she was dead. A local farmer found her body the following morning.
Eileen was originally from Corofin and her brutal murder shocked the whole community. Several hundred people were interviewed in the aftermath of her death but there were no arrests.
Her brother Martin Costello, who owns a bus hire firm in Corofin, said that the family were not contacted in relation to the latest TV construction for RTE’s Crimecall but he added that a member of the Gardaí in Galway keeps contact with him on an occasional basis,
“At this stage it is difficult to believe that anyone will be caught for the murder but the fact that people have now been in touch gives us new hope. Up to this guards seem to have drawn a complete blank but hopefully something might come of the latest developments,” Martin Costello added.
The murder had a terrible effect on Eileen’s mother who died eleven years after the tragedy not knowing who was responsible for her daughter’s death.
HUNT FOR TAXI DRIVER’S KILLER STILL GOES ON
SINCE the murder of Eileen Costello O’Shaughnessy, Gardaí have made appeals for information that would lead to the identity of her kller.
Back in 1997 there were sightings of the taxi being stopped on the hard shoulder three miles outside the city on the N17 and it was then spotted turning right down Tinker’s Lane at Knockdoemore where the body was discovered by a local farmer the following day.
A taxi being driving erratically towards Galway city was subsequently witnessed by other motorists that evening. Eileen’s blood-stained taxi was abandoned at the old Lydon House baker on the Tuam Road.
A number of people, who were seen in the vicinity of where the body was dumped, were asked to come forward but they failed to do so despite repeated appeals.
Even a woman who approached another taxi driver in Eyre Square some weeks after the murder saying that she had vital information did not make contact with the Gardaí subsequently.
Eileen was savagely beaten to death and it is obvious that the perpetrator apparently picked up close to Galway city, drove her blood-stained taxi back in the N17 towards town and then abandoned the vehicle.
It was a murder that shocked several communities in County Galway at the time and despite exhaustive inquiries on the part of the Gardai in Galway, no one was ever arrested in connection with the murder.
There have been TV, radio and newspaper appeals for information about the murder of the 47 year old mother of two and despite a number of lines of inquiry, investigating officers are no closer to finding her murderer.
The Gardai insist that the investigation is ongoing and they have four key areas which they are focusing on.
- At around 8,30pm on November 30, 1997 on the N17, close to Tinker’s Lane, a woman with blonde hair was seen walking in the direction of Galway against oncoming traffic. She was at the hard shoulder and appeared in a distracted state. This woman has never been identified.
- Secondly, at 8.45pm a motorist observed Eileen’s taxi, a silver Toyota Carina registration number 97 G 6663, driving erratically on the N17 towards Galway. As the cars approached Leaders Shop the motorist overtook the taxi and saw a man with a beard driving it. The taxi turned left into Lydon House Bakery. This man has never been identified.
- At around 9pm, a man was seen jumping down from a wall close to Lydon House Bakery and walking the direction of Galway. He was wearing a green jacket and carrying a small canvas bag. This man has never been identified.
- Finally, a small red car was seen at 2am at Tinker’s Lane where Eileen’s body was found. The car had reversed up the laneway and had the parking lights on. The occupants of this car have never been identified.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Galway Garda Station at 091-533250.