Longford man found guilty of stealing semi automatic shotgun in Aughnacliffe

Defendant will be sentenced next Thursday

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

A man has been found guilty this evening of a number of offences under the Firearms and Theft acts following a two day trial at Longford Circuit Court.

John Paul Conway (39), 40 Cartron Breac, Longford appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson charged with possession of a semi automatic shotgun; possession of ammunition; theft of a gun, theft of ammunition; theft of a baseball cap; theft of the key of a caddy van; unlawful taking of an mpv without the consent of the owner - all of which were the property of Philip Mulligan; unlawful possession of a semi automatic shotgun not for lawful purpose and possession of ammunition not for lawful purpose at Forthill, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford on August 10, 2017.

The court heard over the course of the two day trial that the defendant entered the van on the date in question after Mr Mulligan had placed the gun, ammunition and keys in it and returned to his house for breakfast.  

Anna May Mahon, meanwhile told the court that on the morning at approximately 5am she was feeding her baby when she heard a van being revved.

She looked out the window and saw a flash lamp being used and realised that it wasn’t Mr Mulligan who was there.  

She said she called out, "Philip is that you?", and the defendant turned towards her and said, "Yeah it is".  

The court was told that Ms Mahon knew by the voice that it wasn’t her neighbour Philip Mulligan and that she had a clear view of the defendant’s face.

The witness also pointed out to the court that Mr Conway walked away with the firearm and then proceeded to run.  

Meanwhile, Philip Mulligan, Pauric Martin and Mary Duignan also provided evidence to the court which heard that a few minutes after the theft took place in the north Longford parish of Aughnacliffe the defendant drove back into the estate in a Honda Civic and was immediately identified by Ms Mahon.  

The court was told that when the accused was removed from the car by Mr Mulligan and Mr  Martin, the keys to Philip Mulligan’s van were discovered in his hand.

Mr Conway, meanwhile, denied stealing the items and denied having the keys to Mr Mulligan’s van in his possession.  

No forensic evidence was provided during the court sitting to tie the defendant to the van or the other items and the State’s case rested primarily on the evidence of Ms Mahon, particularly in respect of the visual identification of the defendant.  

It took a jury of five women and seven men just under three and a half hours to reach a majority verdict of guilty on each count before the court this afternoon.

Mr Conway will be sentenced in respect of the matter next Thursday.  

For a full report on this story, see next Wednesday's Longford Leader!