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Serial Killers

The Brittas Bay Killers

Geoffrey Evans, a native of Lancashire in England, was a serial killer who teamed up with John Shaw, and planned to abduct, rape and kill one woman a week. Back in 1974 both men, who were in their 30’s at the time, left England and fled to Ireland after building up a string of criminal convictions for burglary and theft – and were also wanted by the police in connection with three rapes – in England. Evans was the brains of the operation, with Shaw as the ‘brawn’. For reasons unknown, they decided to make a pact that they would break and enter into houses where they knew women were in residence, raping them and murdering them, before fleeing with the victims valuables. Their plans fell through when they were captured in Cork and given a two year prison sentence. This should’ve been the end of it, but unfortunately there was an administrative blunder, and this saw them released after only 18 months.

In late August, 1976, the two men were driving to Brittas, County Wicklow. They saw a distraught Elizabeth Plunkett, a 23-year old clerk from Dublin, walking the side of the road. Elizabeth had just been in a fight with her boyfriend, and in an act of defiance, had left the pub they were drinking at and decided to walk home. It was a different time back then, and if someone stopped and offered you a lift, they took it. Elizabeth gladly accepted a lift from Evans and Shaw. Unfortunately for her, she was not taken home. She was instead taken to Castletimon Wood, raped repeatedly, and then choked with the sleeve of a nylon shirt. Evans gave the directions that Shaw do the actual killing. While the dirty deed was being done, Evans went for a walk. When he came back, he weighed Elizabeth’s body down, stole a boat, and threw her into the sea.

On September 10 of that same year, the men, having traveled to Galway, brought themselves a mobile home. They then made a bad blunter (for them). They stole a green Ford Cortina, painted it black themselves, and changed the number plate. They didn’t do a very good job of it either. When driving up to a petrol station the shopkeeper noticed how badly the car was painted, and for some reason this aroused his suspicions. When he heard that the men were English, he was doubly suspicious and took down the number plates. The following day the men were again in the right place at the right time – or of the intended victim, the wrong place. They happened upon Mary Duffy who, at that time, was trying to find a lift home. They offered Mary a lift, who accepted. As she sat in the car, they beat her badly, and drove towards a remote wooded area at Ballynahinch. Mary was tied to a tree for 24 hours. During that period she was raped repeatedly before being murdered by suffocation. They then tied a cement block to her ankle and threw her into a nearby lake. By this time, a car which resembled the badly painted Ford Cortina was put out as possibly being involved in the disappearances of these girls. The petrol station shopkeeper, remembering the pair and his suspicious feelings, called the police and reported the number plates.

On 27 September, 1976, two officers were on duty near a nightclub, when they saw the car parked in a nearby car park. When Evans and Shaw left the nightclub and returned to the car, they were arrested after a struggle, and when back at the station, eventually confessed to the murders. Following their arrest, Shaw received an attack of “Catholic Guilt” and told the officers in charge of him “I’m glad you got me, we were going to kill one a week.” Geoffrey Evans underwent heart surgery in 2008. Due to complications, he fell into a coma, in which he stayed for the next 4 years, dying in May 2012, age 69. His accomplish, John Shaw, is still in prison serving his life sentence.

Photo Main: Geoffrey Evans and John Shaw
Inset Upper: Mary Duffy
Inset Lower: Elizabeth Plunkett

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