A Ballyhaunis estate agent allegedly attempted to deceive Hibernian Insurance into paying him in excess of €50,000 for his missing BMW appeared in Castlebar Circuit Court last week.
Gerard O’Boyle, Carrowreagh, Ballyhaunis, is also facing charges of deceiving An Garda Síochána by reporting the alleged theft and making a false statement, of having a forged driving licence in his possession and of using that licence to get insurance cover from Hibernian Insurance.
He is pleading not guilty to all four charges. The jury began deliberating on Friday (July 1) and is due to continue its deliberations this morning (Tuesday).
BMW reported stolen
Gerard O’Boyle told the court that he discovered his 2008 BMW was missing from his parents’ house at Carrowreagh, Ballyhaunis at 8.30pm on October 8, 2008, and he immediately contacted the Gardaí.
In a statement to the Gardaí, Mr O’Boyle “The car has just vanished off the face of the earth.”
In early November 2008 Mr O’Boyle made a statement to the Hibernian claims investigator David Kean suggesting he owed approximately €20,000 on his BMW. It later emerged that the defendant actually owed in excess of €50,000 on the missing vehicle.
Car hidden in quarry
Sergeant Kieran McNicholas of Ballyhaunis Garda Station said that on November 12, 2008, he received an anonymous phone call stating that Mr O’Boyle’s stolen BMW was, in fact, hidden across the road from Mr O’Boyle’s home in the family-owned quarry at Carrowreagh, Ballyhaunis.
Prior to gardaí finding the vehicle after a search warrant was issued, quarry worker Enda Mulkeen claimed he saw Mr O’Boyle walking down to his BMW car, which was parked in watery ground at the bottom of the site.
A BMW expert also gave evidence in relation to the car’s electronic key reading, which the prosecution said proved there were large discrepancies in the times and dates preceeding the disappearance and discovery of the vehicle given by Mr O’Boyle.
During a question-and-answer session on July 29, 2009, Mr O’Boyle told the Gardaí that he suspected his estranged wife’s uncle Martin Cox, a plasterer by trade, had been involved in the disappearance of his car. He claimed he had seen Mr Cox acting suspiciously near his home.
He also maintained that Cox had access to the home he had shared with his estranged wife, Victoria Keegan, and son at Brenamore, Loughlynn, Castlerea. A spare key for the BMW was allegedly left at the home – something Ms Keegan strenuously denied.
When asked by prosecution barrister Mr John Jordan why he had not contacted the Gardaí or his insurance company to inform them of the discovery of the BMW in the quarry, Mr O’Boyle said he was waiting to see if Martin Cox would return for the vehicle.
Mr Martin Cox said he had a good relationship with Mr O’Boyle until a number of years ago, when he discovered that O’Boyle had fathered a son before his relationship with his niece Victoria had begun. He told the court his niece had never been told about this child. The court also heard that in recent years, there had been a number of disagreements over payments between Mr O’Boyle and Mr Cox.
Defence barrister Alan Toal told the jury that Martin Cox not only had access to the spare key of Mr O’Boyle’s BMW at Brenamore, Loughlynn, he also had access to the keys of two other vehicles owned by Mr O’Boyle: a Citroen Relay van and a Ford Transit van. According to the defence, lime and concrete (materials Cox would have had access to) were maliciously poured into the engines of both vehicles – a claim that was verified by a defence witness.
Mr Toal told the jury Mr Cox had been given the keys of the vans by Ms Keegan for ‘safe keeping’. Ms Keegan did not dispute this and said she had given the keys to her uncle because Mr O’Boyle had left her with nothing, and the vehicles were a vital source of financial security.
Loan payments overdue
Agnes Conneely of GE Money testified four letters were sent to Mr O’Boyle in respect of his hire-purchase agreement between July 2008, when Mr O’Boyle had purchased his new BMW, and October 22, 2008. Ms Conneely said monthly instalments of €1,046.27 were ‘ignored’.
Ms Victoria Keegan said she had found numerous threatening letters for various loans hidden behind cupboards in the home they shared at Brenamore, Loghlynn, Castlerea. She said her husband told her a number of these loans, which were in her name, had been paid off when in actual fact they had not.
Under cross-examination, O’Boyle admitted that his financial situation was ‘up and down’, and he pointed out that his wife ‘was very demanding; she had expensive tastes’. At another point, O’Boyle also claimed it was Ms Keegan’s uncle, Mr Cox, who had forged the driver’s licence that was used to insure the BMW. It emerged that O’Boyle had previously failed his driving test and did not hold a legitimate licence.
Prosecuting barrister Mr John Jordan responded to Mr O’Boyle’s claims by saying, “This is a contrived attempt to suggest that someone broke in to your house and stole your car,” adding: “Are you prepared to assassinate the characters of anyone to exorcise yourself?”
Second BMW ‘disappeared’
Ms Keegan also told the court that six or seven months before the aforementioned 2008 BMW car had been reported stolen, another 2008 BMW, a 520 model, had also mysteriously disappeared.
O’Boyle had phoned her in a flustered state, she said, and to ask her to pick him up, claiming that the car had broken down and been towed away. Ms Keegan told the court that after their separation in September 2008, she found documents proving that the car had actually been repossessed.
A verdict in the case is expected today.