Belfast Telegraph

Pizza delivery driver 'bought shotgun to scare off paramilitaries' - court hears

A pizza delivery driver allegedly caught with a sawn-off shotgun said he bought it to scare off paramilitaries threatening him, the High Court heard today. 

Connor McMahon told police he paid £310 for the weapon but didn't realise it was real, prosecutors said.

The 25-year-old, of Helens Wood Court, Dunmurry, Belfast, faces a charge of possessing a firearm in suspicious circumstances.

McMahon was granted bail but banned from leaving Northern Ireland.

He was arrested after a police surveillance operation in the city led to the gun being recovered from his car on October 22, the court heard.

Detectives believe he bought it from a man in the Turf Lodge area after the deal was arranged by a third party.

Opposing his release, a prosecution barrister said McMahon claimed to believe the gun had been deactivated.

"He said he bought it for protection from persons her perceived to be paramilitaries because he was under threat and wanted to use it to scare them away," she said.

Forensic tests have confirmed the weapon is a viable firearm.

The court heard McMahon has received a number of threat warnings from police over the past two years.

Defence counsel Luke Curran said they were being linked to a "minor disagreement" in a bar.

He set out how McMahon was told a deactivated sawn-off shotgun was for sale and thought it "perfect" for his purposes.

"Some people choose to put a cricket bat behind their bed," Mr Curran said.

"He thought it was the sort of thing that if someone came round to the house it would scare them off. It would be an immediate deterrent to anybody if they appeared."

Granting bail, Mr Justice Burgess also imposed a curfew and ordered McMahon to surrender any passport.

The accused's mother must also lodge a £2,000 cash surety as part of the conditions.

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