Paedophile priest dies in prison

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The Independent Online
Father Brendan Smyth, the Roman Catholic priest who was jailed for a succession of paedophile crimes on both sides of the Irish border, died last night after an apparent heart attack.

Smyth, 69, was dead when he arrived in hospital from the Curragh prison in Co Kildare, where he was serving a 12-year sentence after admitting 74 offences against 20 boys and girls in his care between 1958 and 1993. He was sentenced at Dublin's Criminal Court last month after completing a four-year jail term in Northern Ireland. He had earlier agreed to cross the border following the end of his sentence.

Smyth (above right) was taken ill at around teatime yesterday. He was declared dead at hospital in Naas, Co Kildare, 10 miles from the Curragh, where he had been held in special quarters beside a military jail.

The Norbertine Order priest became the best known of a string of Irish clerics to face sex abuse charges - many dating back decades - because of his unwitting involvement in events that brought about the collapse three years ago of former premier Albert Reynolds' Irish government. The coalition administration fell after rows broke out between parties over the way allegations of delay in extraditing Smyth to Northern Ireland had been dealt with.

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