Bounty on head of Castlebar man following road death
A BOUNTY has been placed on the head of a 22-year-old Castlebar man, and his life would be in danger if he was sent to prison, Castlebar Circuit Court heard last week.
Jack Maughan (22) of The Caravan Site, Moneen, Castlebar, appeared before the court on Friday last. He received a 12-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Martin Collins on July 26, 2012, along the R321 between Bohola and Foxford.
The court heard that the death of Mr Collins sparked a series of serious attacks on members of the Maughan family, attacks that resulted in the murder of the defendant’s brother Owen (28) who was shot three times in the back in in broad daylight at 3.30pm on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, at Top Oil filling station at Moneen, Castlebar. He died from his injuries shortly after 8pm that evening.
Jack Maughan was shot twice in the abdomen in a separate attack, while another brother was also shot but survived.
Mr Bernard Madden, senior counsel for the defendant, explained that a bounty had been placed on the head of his client, and the threat, which the Gardaí confirmed was under investigation, had originated in Castlerea Prison.
“The Gardaí are satisfied there is a real threat to his life and it did come from the prison environs. The threat was made to a member of the Maughan family who was in prison at the time,” he said.
When asked by Judge Rory MacCabe whether the main risk to his life was inside or outside of prison, Mr Madden replied the main risk to Mr Maughan was inside the prison.
Mr Maughan was before the court after pleading guilty to the offence of dangerous driving causing death to Martin Collins. Detective Garda Keith Coleman explained that Mr Maughan was the driver of a Ford Transit van which collided with a Blue Volkswagen Transporter that was being driven by Terry Collins.
Martin Collins was a passenger in the Transporter. He suffered serious injuries in the collision and died later that evening.
The court heard that the point of impact lay 0.3 metres across the white line on Mr Collins’s side of the road, and that the Transporter lost control and flipped over on its side.
At the scene of the accident Mr Maughan, whose brother Martin was a passenger in the Ford Transit, made no admissions to gardaí other than to say he was ‘going to Knock to say prayers’.
The court was told that at the time of the traffic accident, Mr Maughan was serving a two-year suspended prison sentence for assault having been sentenced the previous January.
Living in fear
Mr Madden read a report from his client’s GP that stated that Mr Maughan was suffering from anxiety and sleeplessness and that he feared he would be murdered.
“I am very worried his life will be in serious jeopardy if he is sent to prison,” Dr Waldron wrote.
Mr Maughan, he said, was on anti-depressants and sleeping tablets and was engaging with the Mayo Mental Health services.
Dr Waldron said that Mr Maughan had also attempted to harm himself three times in the last 12 months.
Mr Madden said that his client needed ongoing treatment from his GP and Mayo Mental Health services and that he would not get this in prison. He added that his client expressed remorse for what happened to Mr Collins and asked Judge MacCabe to consider a suspended sentence.
In sentencing, Judge MacCabe said it would not be in the interests of justice to impose an immediate prison sentence on Mr Maughan and instead imposed a 12-month sentence, suspended for three years.
Judge MacCabe expressed his sympathy with the Collins family but said he could not condone the ‘acts of personal vengeance or vendetta’ which this ‘unintentional loss of life caused’.