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Men receive suspended sentence for towing stolen horse-box


TWO men who were caught transporting a stolen horse-box each received suspended prison sentences and will both have to perform community service.
William Lawrence (31) of Lower Charles Street, Castlebar and Eamon Maughan (43) of 29 Knockthomas, Castlebar both pleaded guilty at Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court to handling stolen property after they were caught transporting a stolen horse-box in the early hours of September 25, 2017.
The horse-box worth €4,000 had been stolen from Croagh Patrick Stables in Murrisk between September 19 and 23, 2017.
Garda Gerard Carney told Judge Rory McCabe that on September 24, gardaí in Foxford received confidential information that the horse-box was being stored behind a dwelling near Foxford.
A subsequent surveillance operation was set up and at approximately 1am, on September 25, a Volvo car was seen approaching the house and left with the trailer in the direction of Pontoon. The car was followed by gardaí and was stopped a short time later.
Mr Maughan was the driver of the car, while Mr Lawrence was in the passenger seat.
The two defendants each had 22 previous convictions with Mr Lawrence receiving 18 of his for theft and deception charges while Mr Maughan had none for these offences.
Mr Patrick Murphy, counsel for Mr Lawrence, highlighted that this ‘wasn’t the most sophisticated operation’ and how his client made ‘certain admissions’, saying he was approached by two males and asked to carry out the job.
Judge Rory McCabe intervened and asked, ‘I take it he couldn’t remember their names?’, to which Mr Murphy said yes.
In sentencing Mr Lawrence, Judge McCabe believed the offence was a ‘money making exercise’ and highlighted Mr Lawrence’s ‘multiple convictions for dishonesty’ in his past.
He sentenced him to four years in prison, but suspended the entirety of the sentence for five years. He also ordered him to complete 200 hours of community service in the next 12 months.
In relation to Mr Maughan, Judge McCabe said he was going to distinguish him from Mr Lawrence because he had no convictions for theft or deception. He sentenced him to three years imprisonment but also suspended the entirety of the sentence for five years and also ordered him to complete 200 hours community service.