'Lifers' charts the last half-century of murder in Ireland, telling the story of 16 prisoners serving life sentence and the impact of their crimes on the families and friends of murder victims.
There is only one penalty for committing murder in Ireland: mandatory life imprisonment. It makes no difference if you plead guilty or if you're convicted by a jury. The sentence remains the same. It's been like this for fifty years since the death sentence was abolished. In 1954, when Michael Manning became the last man hanged for murder in Ireland, there were only a handful of life sentence prisoners in Irish jails. Now there are almost two hundred behind bars, with many more on temporary release for good behaviour.
In 'Lifers', Barry Cummins – crime reporter and bestselling author of 'Missing' – charts the last half-century of murder in Ireland. Among the cases in 'Lifers' is Ireland's longest serving prisoner, who has been in prison for over forty years but refuses to apply for parole. Also profiled are random killers John Shaw and Geoffrey Evans, who abducted and murdered women in Counties Wicklow and Mayo in 1976. Then there is the 23-year investigation into the murder of Kildare woman Phyllis Murphy which saw John Crerar jailed for life in 2002.
'Lifers' is not just an in-depth look at how some of Ireland's most evil killers were caught. It highlights issues that the criminal justice system must address. Through detailed interviews with the families and friends of murder victims, 'Lifers' argues that it is them who are the people really serving a life sentence. This is a riveting book that raises matters of profound public concern.
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