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Pensioner Samuel Tweed on run since 1974 admits to gun charges

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 11/06/2015

Charges: Samuel Tweed
Charges: Samuel Tweed

A pensioner who went on the run four decades ago has admitted historic firearms offences.

Samuel Tweed, who turns 74 next month, appeared at Belfast Crown Court where he was due to stand trial on a series of charges linked to an arms and ammunition cache in the city in April 1974.

Tweed, from Mark Street in Newtownards, faced a total of five charges arising from the discovery of the firearms.

Prior to the start of the trial, Tweed's barrister Eilish McDermott QC asked that her client be rearraigned on three of the five charges he faced.

The pensioner was firstly charged with possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent - namely a Walther self-loading pistol and a quantity of ammunition - on April 19, 1974. When the charge was put to him, he replied: "Guilty."

He was then charged with a second firearms offence, namely possessing firearms and ammunition with intent, on April 21, 1974. The weapons in question were six .45 calibre revolvers; two .22 calibre Star pistols; two .22 calibre pistols; a .22 calibre Browning pistol; a .22 calibre revolver; a .25 calibre Mauser pistol; a .38 Webley revolver; two .38 calibre revolvers; a .32 calibre pistol; a 9mm Beretta pistol; a 12 bore sawn-off shotgun; a 9mm magazine, a .22 calibre magazine and a quantity of assorted ammunition. Tweed entered a guilty plea to this offence.

Tweed also admitted escaping from lawful custody at Belfast Magistrates Court on May 7, 1974. Prosecuting barrister David McDowell QC told the court that in light of the guilty pleas, the Crown asked that the remaining two firearms offences Tweed faced be left on the books, not to be proceeded with.

After Tweed admitted the charges, Ms McDermott asked that pre-sentence reports be prepared on her client. The barrister revealed that a report outlining Tweed's physical health would be submitted to the court.

Ms McDermott added: "He (Tweed) will also be examined by a psychiatrist who will provide full information to the court as to his personal circumstances."

Judge Philip Babington agreed to release Tweed on bail, and said he would sentence the pensioner on Friday, August 28.

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