Sorry seems to be the hardest word, according to that mournful old Elton John song. However, isn’t it really? It’s actually quite easy.
Just days before Monday’s first episode of reporter Mick Peelo’s new three-part series guilt and confession (RTÉ / RTÉ player), Garda commissioner Drew Harris expressed his regret – in the form of a written apology – to Martin Conami.
It came a little late: 50 years after Martin was wrongfully convicted of the murder of a young Meath woman, for which he served three years in prison, and 12 years after the sentence was revoked.
In 2014, the Court of Appeals ruled that Martin had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice. It is putting it lightly.
I have “sorry” of my own to offer. I’m afraid I’m allowed guilt and confession Monday for slipping under my radar. So, it seems, did other TV critics; There were no reviews in 24 hours after it aired. Maybe we’re suffering from true-crime documentary fatigue.
But crime and confessions, Which is available on RT player, demands to be viewed. It is one of the first must-see series of 2022.
Even if you’ve read about the infamous exploits of the Garda “heavy gang,” whose interrogation techniques depend on reckless beatings of suspects, the damning story told here was jaw-droppingly shocking.
Tales of the “heavy gang” are usually linked from the late 1970s to the 1980s, but as the program made clear, the roots lie in the 1971 kidnapping and murder of 19-year-old Una Linsky, a civil servant . Daily commute to Dublin.
She disappeared during a walk from a bus stop to her home in Porterstown, Co Meath, and was never seen alive again. Three months after his disappearance, his remains, by then so badly decomposed as to offer any forensic clues, were discovered by a worker on a deserted road in the Dublin Mountains.
Not that the investigating guard was interested in finding clues anyway. They had already decided without any evidence who Una’s killers were, and they knew how to confess.
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Martin Conami, Dick Donnelly and Marty Kerrigan, three friends between the ages of 19 and 21, were usually seen driving around in Dick’s battered old car – an unmistakable sight when there were few car-owners in the area.
They were seen in the street the evening when Una disappeared, and she did not tell Gardai a secret. But witnesses put him there hours after he disappeared, meaning he couldn’t possibly be responsible.
That didn’t stop the Murder Squad men from Detective Inspector Hubert Reynolds and Sergeant John Courtney, a bright young star in the force who rose through the ranks and was elected to this supposedly elite organization in 1967. He was assisted by Garda Brian Gildea at Balbrigan Station.
Martin and Dick — who died last year but were featured in the audio recording here — claimed it was Courtney and Gildia who excitedly began beating confessions from them and Marty. At one point, I’ve claimed, Gildia poured a hot poker into her arm and side.
Local man Christo Ennis, who was in a nearby cell, remembered the men crying and screaming in pain.
After three days of this, Martin and Marty – tired, horrified and confused – signed confessions that should not be worth the paper they were written on. Dick refused to sign.
Martin and Dick were convicted of murder, but Dick’s appeal was successful and after several months in prison, they were released.
In a terrifying twist in an already horrifying tale, Marty is later kidnapped and murdered by a gang of 10 men. His body was dumped at a place near Una. Three of his relatives were convicted of killing Marty.
If the threats and cruelty described here were disturbing, it was the revelation that six witnesses saw a new-looking, dark brown Ford Zodiac or Zephyr, driven by a well-dressed man, when Una disappeared. went. One of them, a van driver, who proceeded to avoid it, said that in the back seat was a struggling woman. They were ignored.
This series will continue next Monday at 9.35 pm on RTE One