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Johnny O'Loughlin: "We're hoping, but there's no extradition from Morocco so what can you do?"

Family of murdered Emer to push for review of case

THE killing of North Clare woman Emer O’Loughlin will feature in the next episode of Marú Inár Measc at 9.30 on Wednesday, May 25, on TG4.

Marú Inár Measc is a true crime documentary series, which shines a light on the effect that fatal crimes have on society, local communities and on the victim’s families as they are left without answers.

A talented artist, Emer was killed on April 8, 2005. Her body was subsequently found in the burnt out remains of her neighbour John Griffin’s mobile home.

Shortly after her death, Griffin, who had a history of violence and drug abuse, was found on Inis Mór, having barricaded himself inside Dún Aengus fort.

He was eventually persuaded by Gardai to come out, and taken to Ballinasloe for psychiatric care. However, he was allowed to sign himself out of hospital after five days and his whereabouts now is unknown.

After leaving hospital, and now shorn of his distinctive dreadlocks and beard, it is known that he travelled to the Aran Islands and it is believed that he tried to fake his own death there.

Later that year he travelled from London to Germany, but his whereabouts now is unknown.

Some years later Interpol issued a notice saying that he may be living in the UK, Germany, Spain or Holland, but Emer’s father Johnny believes he is in Morocco, having received word of a sighting there.

In advance of the upcoming documentary, Johnny said he still hopes for a breakthrough on the case but knows it is unlikely.

“We’re hoping, but there’s no extradition from Morocco so what can you do?”

Emer’s sister Pamela said that while next week’s screening will put some focus back on Emer’s killing, she is not optimistic of ever receiving justice.

“After 17 years now, I don’t expect it to achieve anything to be honest with you. It is bringing attention to the case, but I don’t expect that anything will come out of it to be honest.”

However, she feels that some answers could be given regarding failures in the investigation.

“At this stage we need to be looking at how the case was handled at the beginning.

“We need to be looking at the mistakes that were made at the beginning, what was and what was not done. How experts that were involved in the case at the beginning did not use all of the tools at their disposal with the case.”

“I know it’ll be said that was in the past and this is where we are now, but what has happened in the past has caused us to be where we are now.

“I’d like some answers. I will be approaching the Garda Commissioner and I will be starting to push for a review of the case. It’s not going to bring Emer back, but it could save another family from going through this.”

Somehow a person with a troubled history, in whose burned out mobile home Emer’s remains were found, was allowed to leave psychiatric care and disappear completely, and Pamela feels the case was handled very poorly.

“Things could have been done very differently and they should have been done very differently. There was an awful lot of pussy footing around and being afraid to offend certain people.

“They were so afraid to make mistakes that they ended up making mistakes. As someone said, they grabbed defeat out of the jaws of victory in this case, they really did.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.