A Galway man currently serving five years in prison, for his part in a con operation where an elderly Galway woman was swindled out of €390,000, pleaded guilty to theft of a van from Claremorris motor auctions this week.
Con Murphy with an address at 116 Castle Park, Ballybane, originally pleaded not guilty to the charge in court, but changed his plea to guilty because he told the court he wanted to get it sorted out and get on with his life.
Garda Peter Sarsfield outlined to the court the background of the case which involved Murphy stealing the van which had been seized by the Galway Sheriff as part of a liquidation process of a Galway based company, with the van being kept at the Claremorris car auctions premises for safe keeping.
He told the court that on July 22, 2009 the van was seized by the Galway Sheriff and put on a truck and brought to the Claremorris auction for storage; the keys were not with the van at the time. A week later the van was seized by the liquidator of the company, but remained in Claremorris. After a number of weeks, the liquidator was contacted by the owner of the company which had gone into liquidation as he wanted to get some documents from the van, which he was given permission to do.
On August 22 2009, the owner of the company, Brian Fox, and Con Murphy went to Claremorris to retrieve the documents and some other items from the van. Approximately a week later, the van was noticed missing from the Claremorris motor auctions premises, and it was believed that it had been taken by the liquidator, however when the liquidator came looking for the van he got in contact with Mr Fox who said he did not know where the van was.
Garda Sarsfield was called about the theft and he ran the number plates of the van through the Garda Pulse system and saw that it showed up on a report of an inspection carried out by gardaí at a garage in Galway.
On October 12 2009 Garda Sarsfield, along with members of the gardaí from Galway called to the garage where the van had been noted earlier, the owner of the garage told him that Murphy had the van and gave him Murphy’s telephone number. Garda Sarsfield contacted Murphy who came to Claremorris Garda station that evening and returned the van.
Murphy said that after he had accompanied Mr Fox to Claremorris, he asked him about the van because he had bought a van from him previously. Mr Fox said that Murphy could have it and Mr Fox dropped the keys of the van through Murphy’s letter box a few days later. Murphy went on to say that he thought that Fox had done a deal with the Revenue in relation to the van. When asked by Judge Mary Devins if he believed that Mr Fox had colluded with Murphy, Garda Sarsfield told the court that he did not believe Mr Fox had any involvement in the theft.
Judge Mary Devins convicted and sentenced Murphy to six months in prison to run concurrently with the five year sentence he is currently serving.