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The most evil killers from Ireland

A montage of crime scenes overlaid with The National Flag of Ireland

Every year, more than 10 million tourists visit Ireland to enjoy its rugged coastline, rustic charm and the bustle and heritage of its famous capital. The country’s culture, folk music and welcoming hosts prove popular with people from all across the world.

Yet the Emerald Isle is a place forged by violence, conflict and truly awful historical incidents. While its past may be flecked in blood, it’s a very safe nation in the 21st century. That doesn’t mean that the republic hasn’t seen its fair share of twisted killers down the years, though.

These are Ireland’s most evil killers:

Geoffrey Evans – 2 victims

When Dublin-born Geoffrey Evans died after heart surgery back in 2012, he did so as one of Ireland’s longest-serving prisoners.

He was convicted of two murders back in the mid-70s, receiving life in prison for raping and killing Elizabeth Plunkett and Mary Duffy. It’s believed, however, that Evans may have been responsible for many more murders and sex attacks.

At one point, according to police, Evans planned to ‘kill a woman a week’ along with his accomplice, John Shaw. Luckily for the young women of Ireland, Garda apprehended the men after spotting them driving around in their distinctive Ford Cortina.

Kieran Patrick Kelly – 2 victims

‘Nosy Kelly’ - known for his noticeably large nose - is a figure of much debate in the annals of Irish true crime. A drunk and a vagrant for most of his life, Kieran Patrick Kelly didn’t exactly cut a particularly intimidating or evil figure.

In 1983, Kelly was arrested, a regular occurrence in his life, this time for petty theft. While in his holding cell, he strangled his cellmate to death. The police were shocked by this brutal and unprovoked attack, but the surprises didn’t end there.

In recorded conversations with police, Kelly confessed to a huge litany of murders dating back years. However, the police struggled to tell the facts from the lies. Over a period of almost 30 years, Kelly claimed to have killed or attempted to kill scores of individuals in London using a variety of tactics, including throwing them in front of trains, setting them on fire, and poisoning them.

The London Underground Serial Killer, a book written by former police detective Geoff Platt, claimed that Kelly had killed more than 30 people. Platt also claimed that the British Home Office had planned to conceal Kelly's crimes to prevent a public outcry.

In the end, he was sentenced to life in prison on one count of murder and one count of manslaughter. However, he is believed to be one of Ireland’s most prolific serial killers.

John Duffy – 3 victims

John Duffy was born in Ireland but took his viciousness to England. In the first half of the 1980s, Duffy and his accomplice, David Mulcahy, terrorised, raped and murdered women and girls at train stations across London and southern England. As such, the deadly duo became known as ‘The Railway Rapists’ and ‘The Railway Killers’.

The twisted pair were known to have attacked at least 19 young women and killed a minimum of three. It’s thought that, while Duffy was a prolific and unrepentant rapist, it was Mulcahy that pushed the pair to murder.

William Burke and William Hare – 16 victims

Our final Irish murderers come in the shape of a couple of grave-robbing Williams, the notorious ‘Burke & Hare’.

While their legend seems to focus on their cemetery thefts, the Ireland-born pair were actually guilty of killing at least 16 people in 19th century Edinburgh. It started as a grift, supplying local anatomy lecturer Dr. Robert Knox with cadavers for his medical use. He was the kind of doctor who asked no questions and paid handsomely. That said, it’s not suggested that Knox knew where his suppliers started sourcing their corpses from.

The pair lured people back to one of their abodes under false pretences, got them drunk and then suffocated them so as not to leave any mark on the body. They did this many, many times until eventually getting caught.

Hare received a prison sentence and died as a free man. Burke, on the other hand, was hung, his body dissected for science and his bones are now on display at the Edinburgh Medical School.