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Gerard TOAL





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Quarrel
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 27, 1927
Date of arrest: 1 year after
Date of birth: 1909
Victim profile: Mary Callan, 36, a housekeeper
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Faughart, County Louth, Ireland
Status: Executed by hanging at Dublin on August 29, 1928

Gerard Toal was an eighteen year old chauffeur and odd job man who was convicted of the murder of thirty six year old Mary Callan, a housekeeper. Miss Callan and Toal were both employed by a Father McKeown, an Irish priest.

On 27 May, 1927, the priest returned to the house and found that Mary had vanished. Her bicycle was also missing, and it was assumed that she had cycled home. She was never seen alive again and although it was well known that she and Toal did not get along, he was not immediately under suspicion.

The police searched the farm and discovered part of a woman's bicycle in Toal's room which he claimed he had found. There was nothing to suggest that Toal was responsible for her disappearance and he was released but kept under observation.

The following year, in April, Toal left the farm with the intention of emigrating to Canada but a couple of days later he was arrested in a neighbouring town and charged with stealing.

The police then made another, more thorough search of Father McKeown's farmhouse and found more bicycle parts and some burnt female clothing. The search was intensified and eventually Mary Callan's decomposed body was discovered in a nearby quarry.

Toal confessed that he had strangled her after a quarrel and then thrown her body into the water filled quarry. He was convicted at Dublin Assizes in July and hanged by Thomas Pierrepoint in Dublin on the 29th August 1928.


In the summer of 1927 Mary Callan, who worked as a priestíshousekeeper in Faughart Co Louth, vanished. Callanís disappearance shocked this rural neighbourhood and it remained a mystery until her body was found at the bottom of a nearby quarry a year later.

All eyes turned to the young servant boy Gerard Toal who worked along side Callan at the priestís house. What motive did he have for killing Mary Callan? Ceart agus Coir will reveal the details of the case and how because of this gruesome murder Gerard Toal became the second youngest man to be hanged by the state.



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