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Civil action by Sylvia Roche Kelly's husband adjourned for five weeks

Lorcan Roche Kelly is suing the Garda Commissioner for damages over his wife’s murder.

McGrath being led away from court during the murder case of Sylvia Roche Kelly.
McGrath being led away from court during the murder case of Sylvia Roche Kelly.
Image: RTÉ Screengrab

Updated 12.31 pm

AN ACTION TAKEN by the husband of murdered Clare woman Sylvia Roche Kelly has been adjourned by the High Court until 30 June.

Lorcan Roche Kelly is suing the Garda Commmissioner and the State for damages over the killing of his wife in December 2007 because her murderer was on bail at the time.

An application by the State for court orders dismissing the action by Roche Kelly was listed for today but that has now been put back five weeks.

Roche Kelly’s legal team will contend that he should never have been at large in December 2007 because of several other offences committed in the preceding months.

They will argue that Gerard McGrath was “free to commit the crime of murder when he should have been in custody”.

McGrath had been bailed on numerous occasions following an assault on a taxi driver and the attempted abduction of a little girl.

Sylvia Roche Kelly was killed in December 2007, just a few months after these incidents, both of which had been brought to the attention of gardaí.

Roche Kelly, a mother of two, had been out in a Limerick nightclub to celebrate her 33rd birthday when she met McGrath, then 23 years old. They went to his hotel room in the city, where he went into a rage, attacked and killed the mother-of-two. Her body was found naked, face down in a bath in the room on 8 December.

McGrath was well known to gardaí at this stage. Meath taxi driver Mary Lynch managed to escape a brutal assault and drive herself to safety in April 2007. McGrath was arrested shortly after the incident but later released on bail.

Six months later – in October 2007 – the Tipperary native was caught trying to abduct a five-year-old girl from her home in Dundrum. He was arrested and, again, released on bail.

The case was included in the Guerin Report earlier this month and will be reviewed in the formal commission of investigation.

As part of the civil suit, Roche Kelly includes a claim for a substantial sum of money to meet the cost of care for his two children.

The State will argue that the case should be struck out because it amounts to abuse of process and there is no reasonable cause of action.

- Additional reporting by Rónán Duffy

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