A convicted sex offender who was arrested in connection with the disappearance of six-year-old Mary Boyle in Co Donegal more than 37 years ago has insisted: “I didn’t kill her.”
Brian McMahon, 65, and who is from Ballyshannon, spoke out after being released from prison after serving a two year sentence for 35 sex attacks on two young brothers.
Mary went missing from her grandparents’ home in Cashelard on March 18, 1977.
She has not been seen since she she followed her uncle across the fields near the house.
McMahon was arrested in prison last month and questioned by Gardaí investigating Mary’s disappearance.
“I don’t know whether it was kidnapping, the killing or whatever they had in mind but I can assure you, I had nothing to do with Mary Boyle’s disappearance,” he said.
McMahon who lived in the Ballyhsannon area at the time of Mary’s disappearance, insisted he was not involved and claimed he now fears for his life.
In 2012 he was convicted of sexually abusing a young boy in County Donegal in the 1960s and 70s.
McMahon had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 35 charges of indecent assault of the boy between 1966 and June 1974 at two locations in Ballyshannon. He was convicted by a jury of 31 of the charges two years ago.
McMahon was also convicted to one charge of indecently assaulting the boy’s younger brother, between September 1973 and September 1974, also in Ballyshannon. The victim was aged 13 at the time.
Both men have given permission to reporters to name McMahon.
Garda Gerard Mullane told Caroline Biggs SC, prosecuting, that the victims were also subjected to physical abuse by McMahon, particularly the older brother, who, he said “got the brunt of the physical assaults”.
Some of the abuse took place in a cow shed or in fields.
In his victim impact statement, the older brother told the court he did not have any recollection of happy childhood moments, due to the physical and sexual abuse during what he described as “the most vulnerable” part of his life.
He said at the time he “didn’t have the vocabulary” to describe what was inflicted on him. In an effort to cope throughout his life, he immersed himself in his work and worked hours “far in excess” of the working week.
“I have no self-confidence,” he said, adding that he has difficulty trusting and confiding in others.
He has endured nightmares since the trial. “I have lost my childhood forever,” he said.
His younger brother, in his victim impact statement, said he has endured an “emotional, painful path” due to the “violence, intimidation, terror and completely irrational behaviour” of McMahon.
He said the incident meant the creation of an environment of “secrecy” and he built up a “shell of protection” in an effort to cope.