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.
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.
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.
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.