Guilty: bur­glary duo who ter­rorised priest

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY PAUL HIG­GINS

TWO men who locked up a priest as they car­ried out an armed raid on a cathe­dral in west Belfast have con­fessed their crimes.

Owen Maughan (37) pleaded guilty at Down­patrick Crown Court to nine of­fences across two in­dict­ments, in­clud­ing the ag­gra­vated bur­glary of the parochial house at St Peter’s Cathe­dral on July 13, 2015.

Maughan, pre­vi­ously with an ad­dress at the Trav­ellers’ camp on the Glen Road in west Belfast but now at Maghaberry Prison, was armed with a gun or imi­ta­tion firearm when he stole cash and jew­ellery and falsely im­pris- oned Fr Peter Car­lin. It was re­ported at the time that Fr Car­lin was as­saulted and locked in a room overnight.

Stand­ing hand­cuffed in the dock, Maughan also con­fessed to ag­gra­vated bur­glar­ies at St Michael’s Church on Fi­naghy Road North, a prop­erty on the Cir­cu­lar Road in Dun­gan­non and a house on Park Lane in New­cas­tle.

He pleaded guilty to at­tempted bur­glar­ies at St Colm­cille’s Church in Holy­wood and a house in Castlewellan; bur­glary of a pound shop in New­cas­tle, and al­low­ing him­self to be car­ried in a stolen car.

Pa­trick Maughan (33), from Birch­dale Manor in Lur­gan, also ad­mit­ted of­fences aris­ing from the bur­glar­ies at the two churches, and the bur­glar­ies in Dun­gan­non, New­cas­tle and Castlewellan.

He fur­ther pleaded guilty to danger­ous driv­ing, the at­tempted pos­ses­sion of a firearm, re­sist­ing po­lice, pos­sess­ing cannabis and fail­ing to stop af­ter a road ac­ci­dent.

The of­fences on which the Maugh­ans are jointly charged oc­curred be­tween July 22 and 24, 2015.

Fr De­nis Ryan, a 70-year-old priest from Aus­tralia pro­vid­ing hol­i­day cover at St Michael the Ar­changel, was threat­ened at the parochial house when two men forced their way in. They ran­sacked the house, nor­mally home to parish priest Fr David De­largy, be­fore mak­ing off with cash and keys af­ter trig­ger­ing an alarm in the ad­join­ing church.

Later that night a for­mer church sac­ristan and his wife were threat­ened and held at gun­point dur­ing an ag­gra­vated bur­glary at their home on Cir­cu­lar Road in Dun­gan­non.

The cou­ple live next door to the parochial house for Dun­gan­non parish, lead­ing to spec­u­la­tion that they may have been tar­geted by mis­take.

The Maugh­ans were ar­rested af­ter po­lice chased a stolen car from the Saint­field Road in Co Down to the Seven Mile Straight in Co Antrim. Both men were re­manded in cus­tody un­til sen­tenc­ing next month.

Raid: St Peter’s Cathe­dral

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