Press Release: Is It Me? The Joseph Heffernan Story

Post date: Feb 12, 2018 12:9:12 AM

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Is It Me? The Joseph Heffernan Story

– new evidence unearthed in a century-old Irish murder case –

Press Release

issued 21 August 2013

"Is It Me? What do I know about it? I know nothing about it." These were the last words uttered by Joseph Heffernan as a free man, before he was taken into custody for the murder of Mary Walker in Mullingar, one July day in Mullingar in 1909. He was subsequently tried and convicted of the crime, becoming the last man to hang in Kilmainham Gaol the following January.

New information in the case of Joseph Heffernan is contained in the revised and updated edition of Jack Kiernan’s Is It Me? The Joseph Heffernan Story, which has just been published by The Manuscript Publisher. The book is also published in e-book format for the first time and available to buy through Kindle and Smashwords.

To coincide with the publication, a dedicated website allows you to browse sections of the book, to buy online, read and discuss the background to the case. A case summary is also available to download for free. This covers the main issues of contention in the case that was brought against Joseph Heffernan and which taken together, point to a miscarriage of justice.

In the original edition, which was published in 2011 and quickly sold out, Jack Kiernan first put forward his view that Joseph Heffernan was the victim of a miscarriage of justice: framed for the crime in a bid to conceal the identity of the real killer and likely to have been orchestrated at a fairly high level. Journalist, author and broadcaster, Joe Duffy described the book as "a riveting page-turner ... meticulously researched ... By the end, the reader is left in no doubt that beautiful young Mary Walker was the victim of a heinous crime, but that crime claimed another life the day Joe Heffernan fell to the hangman's rope."

The new information that has come to light since the original publication includes the background to Joseph Heffernan’s previous convictions, for which he served three prison terms. The circumstance of at least one of these convictions would no doubt would have swayed a judge and jury in their deliberations and was used against him in the trial. However, information that has come to light in the meantime shows that the the full facts surrounding this case are uncertain, meaning that Heffernan was entitled to the benefit of doubt.

Evidence is also presented corroborating the view that certain witnesses who testified against Heffernan may have been unduly pressured, induced or simply perjured themselves. These facts were not picked up on at the original trial. This adds further weight to the view that the Prosecution manufactured the crime to match the case they intended to present, rather than vice versa. Heffernan’s Defense, wittingly or unwittingly, may have been complicit.

Then there is confirmation of the existence of a military sex predator operating in the Mullingar area around the time. This would add sustenance to the contention that Joseph Heffernan’s conviction was the result of a sinister plot to protect the identity of the real killer.

The murder of Mary Walker shocked the nation and still reverberates locally, even after more than a century. Many people believed at the time that the right man was caught and paid for the crime with the sentence that was handed down. But rumours have always circulated about Joseph Heffernan’s innocence. One person who was always convinced of his innocence was Jack Kiernan’s grandfather, on his mother’s side, a Sheffield man, and former British soldier. He always claimed, right up to his death, that the wrong man had been executed for the crime and furthermore, he claimed to be aware of this long before he ever set foot in Mullingar.

It was around about the 100th anniversary of the murder, when local interest in the story was re-kindled, that Jack Kiernan took it upon himself to investigate - just to shed light on the episode and see if there was anything to his grandfather's claims. It would become an investigation that would consume all of his spare time over the next few years. He recounts in the book a particular episode, when he went to visit Mary Walker’s final resting place, in Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow. His wife later suggested to him that it was as if Mary Walker’s ghost was guiding him along his path.

Is It Me? The Joseph Heffernan Story by Jack Kiernan is published by The Manuscript Publisher. RRP €14.99. It is also available in e-book editions. See the websites of The Manuscript Publisher and for more information.