The Emerald Isle is considered one of the safest countries in the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t extremely dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland.
Like anywhere in the world, Ireland has been home to some seriously dangerous criminals.
From the most cunning and calculated criminals to the most brutal, monstrous murderers, Irish prisons have seen it all.
When it comes to life sentences in Ireland, the sentence certainly doesn’t really mean a whole life in prison.
There has been some serious contention in recent years as figures show that many prisoners receiving this sentence end up serving nowhere near their full sentence, despite their heinous crimes.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland.
- The Emerald Isle is considered one of the safest countries in the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t extremely dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland.
- Meanwhile in Ireland’s overview of facts about the most dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland
- 10. Sanjeev Chada – do you ever really know someone?
- 9. Marta Herda – knew her victim couldn’t swim
- 8. Graham Dwyer – an unremorseful killer
- 7. Greta Dudko – committed matricide
- 6. Stephen McKinney – a cold, calculated murderer
- 5. Rose Lynch – an IRA hitman
- 4. Charlotte Mulhall – the ‘scissor sisters’
- 3. Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch – a notorious gangster
- 2. Stephen Penrose – a dangerous criminal
- 1. John Shaw – Ireland’s first serial killer
- Your questions answered about the most dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland
Meanwhile in Ireland’s overview of facts about the most dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland
- One of the most notorious Irish gangland figures, Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, was recently released in 2023. The Hutch and Kinahan families have been involved in huge drug-related feuds for years in Ireland.
- John Shaw is Ireland’s first known serial killer. He and Geoffrey Evans abducted, raped and tortured two young girls in County Wicklow and County Mayo.
- Charlotte Mulhall, who along with her sister became known as the ‘Scissor Sisters’, killed and dismembered their own mother’s boyfriend.
- Graham Dwyer is responsible for one of the most sadistic murders in Irish history, luring Elaine O’Hara to a graveyard in Dublin before carrying out sexual acts and killing her.
- Greta Dudko is behind bars for murdering her own mother, known as ‘matricide’. She received a sentence of life imprisonment for the heinous crime.
10. Sanjeev Chada – do you ever really know someone?
Sanjeev Chada was sentenced to life in prison for strangling his two young sons to death after telling his wife, Kathleen Chada, that he was taking them bowling.
His wife said the attack was completely random, saying, “How can evil such as this be hidden for so long in a seemingly normal father?”.
Chada is serving his sentence at Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin, a small, supposedly relaxed prison that only houses 138 prisoners.
9. Marta Herda – knew her victim couldn’t swim
Marta Herda was a Polish waitress living in Arklow in Wicklow at the time of her crime. She said that a colleague of hers, Csaba Orsos, had an infatuation with her, calling him her stalker.
Knowing that Orsos couldn’t swim, she drove her car with Orsos in it into the sea at the South Quay in Arklow, claiming he attacked her.
While she escaped the car and swam to safety, Orsos drowned. She currently resides at The Dóchas Centre, which is located within Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, which is one of the toughest prisons in Ireland.
8. Graham Dwyer – an unremorseful killer
The murder of Elaine O’Hara by Graham Dwyer in 2012 in Dublin stands out in history as one of the most disturbing murder cases on record in Ireland.
Graham Dwyer, one of the most dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland, took advantage of the vulnerability of his victim and lured her out to a graveyard after exchanging a string of harrowing texts about his intentions to stab her, referring to her as ‘slave’ while he was the ‘master’.
During their meeting, he carried out sadistic sexual acts, ultimately killing her. Her body wasn’t discovered until almost a year later on Killakee Mountain. Dwyer leads a quiet, undisturbed life at Midlands Prison, Dublin.
7. Greta Dudko – committed matricide
Greta Dudko killed her mother, Anna Butautiene, on Christmas Eve in 2010. Despite denying murder but accepting manslaughter, her plea was rejected, and she was sentenced to life in prison.
She admitted to banging her mother’s head off a wall two times, and the jury found her guilty of murder by majority. From the most recent reports of the Lithuanian-born nurse, she resides at Mountjoy Prison.
6. Stephen McKinney – a cold, calculated murderer
Stephen McKinney is a cold and callous killer who murdered his wife Lu Na on a family boating holiday in County Fermanagh in late 2021.
McKinney told authorities that his wife had slipped and fallen from the boat and that he had tried to save her. However, it was found out to be the lies of a controlling husband who had carefully planned the murder.
It is unclear which prison McKinney is in.
5. Rose Lynch – an IRA hitman
Rose Lynch, an admitted member of the IRA, gunned down delivery driver David Darcy outside his home in Ballyfermot, Dublin, in April 2013.
It was said she was acting on false information that he was involved in the murder of a Continuity IRA chief in 2011.
At the time of her trial, Gardai told the jury that the victim was wholly unrelated to paramilitary activity. Lynch now resides at Limerick Prison for her crime.
You can also see more heinous crimes in our list of the most notorious Irish serial killers of all time, ranked.
4. Charlotte Mulhall – the ‘scissor sisters’
The ‘Scissor Sisters’ Linda and Charlotte Mulhall killed and dismembered their mother’s boyfriend, Farah Swaleh Noor.
Linda Mulhall admitted to hitting the man with a claw hammer. However, Charlotte Mulhall stabbed him 20 times with a kitchen knife. While his dismembered body was found in the Royal Canal in Dublin, his head was never recovered.
Charlotte Mulhall currently resides in Limerick Prison while her sister was released from prison in 2018. Charlotte is certainly one of the most dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland.
3. Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch – a notorious gangster
Gerry Hutch has been involved in criminal activity for decades. He and the Hutch family are known to be involved in gang activity, particularly against the Kinahan family.
In 2016, a man investigated by the Garda since he was a teenager named David Byrne was murdered at the Regency Hotel in Dublin.
The Hutch gang was immediately looked at, while Gerry Hutch fled to Spain. He was tracked down in Spain and arrested for the murder of David Byrne. He resided at Wheatfield Prison in Dublin, but was ultimately released in 2023.
2. Stephen Penrose – a dangerous criminal
Stephen Penrose is often considered one of the most dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland. Until this year, he was held in a cell 24 hours a day at Mountjoy Prison for murdering and dismembering his criminal friend Philip Finnegan.
After several altercations with other prisoners and staff at the prison, where he was considered a bad influence, he was moved to Cork Prison.
1. John Shaw – Ireland’s first serial killer
John Shaw is Ireland’s longest serving prisoner, as well as Ireland’s first (known) serial killer. He was arrested, along with late accomplice Geoffrey Evans, for the abduction, rape, and torture of 22-year-old Elizabeth Plunkett in County Wicklow and 24-year-old Mary Duffy in County Mayo.
He resides in Dublin’s Arbour Hill Prison and is known as one of the most evil men Ireland has ever seen. During a recent two-day release, he walked around Dublin with a smile on his face. Thankfully, he is now back where he belongs.
Your questions answered about the most dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland
Still have some questions you would like answered after reading this article? You’re in the right place! Here, we have put together some of the most frequently asked questions about the most dangerous criminals behind bars in Ireland to us and from online.
What is the most criminal city in Ireland?
In all of Ireland, Dublin city has the highest crime rate per capita. Main crimes in Dublin would include robbery, theft, fraud, and drug-related crimes.
What is the organised crime in Ireland?
Organised crime in Ireland relates mainly to drugs and gangland feuds. The Kinahan and Hutch families are perhaps the most-well known gangs involved in organised crime in Ireland.
Are Irish prisons violent?
Statistics from 2018 showed that 110 assaults on prison staff by prisoners were recorded across Irish prisons, with 418 for prisoners committing assault on other prisoners.
What are the main prisons in Ireland?
The main prisons in Ireland would be Mountjoy Prison, Limerick Prison, Cork Prison, Castlerea Prison, Maghaberry, and Portlaoise Prison.