independent.ie– Killer Joe O’Reilly has painted himself into a corner by not acknowledging his crime, meaning he will either remain in prison for many years or faces admitting to his two sons that he killed their mother, Rachel Callaly’s father has said.
As the 17th anniversary of Rachel’s death fell on Monday, Jim Callaly said he doesn’t want O’Reilly to get out of jail.
O’Reilly is serving life for the murder of Rachel at their home in The Naul, north Co Dublin, on October 4, 2004.
During his trial in 2007 O’Reilly tried to claim he was at work when a burglar broke into the house and killed his wife.
But phone records showed he had travelled from work back to the secluded family home before returning to central Dublin.
It was the first high-profile case where mobile phone location played a crucial role in pinning-down a person’s movements.
As O’Reilly drove from Dublin city to The Naul and back again his phone ‘pinged’ a number of the masts it passed, including one at a quarry just down the road from the home he shared with Rachel and their two sons. Records of his phone’s location were produced in court.
O’Reilly exhausted every appeal process open to him in trying to overturn the conviction, and has never admitted to the crime or shown remorse.
“If he is ever applying for parole he would probably stand a better chance of getting out if he admitted what he did,” Rachel’s father Jim said.
“The only reason he would do that is to get out.
“But if he admitted to doing it he would be admitting to his two sons that he killed their mother.”
Mr Callaly also branded O’Reilly an “out and out psychopath” for bringing his two sons home in order to present an impression that he did not know what had happened. He had already telephoned Rachel’s mother Rose to say the children had not been collected from their school and creche and asking if she could go check on her.
“This led to Rose finding Rachel lying dead in a pool of blood in the house and having to run out to Joe O’Reilly to stop him coming into the house with the boys when he arrived home,” Mr Callaly said.
“And then when he was re-enacting what the killer must have done the eyes were popping out of his head looking at me and Rose squirming and nearly fainting.
“He has never admitted it was him and never shown remorse. But the courts found him guilty.”
The Department of Justice said the Parole Act of 2019 has increased the length of time a life-sentence prisoner must spend in prison before being eligible to apply for parole. They must now serve 12 years before being eligible, up from from seven years.
It also said that even though the act provides for a life sentence prisoner to apply for parole after 12 years, over the last 10 years the average time a life sentence prisoner spent in custody before being granted parole was 19-20 years.
Many factors are considered in parole decisions, including potential risk to the public, the level of rehabilitation, the nature and gravity of the offence, and the conduct of the parole applicant.
Jim and Rose Callaly said they marked the anniversary of Rachel’s death by visiting her grave, where Rachel’s sister Ann is also buried, having died in September 2010 after having cancer.