Belfast Telegraph

Guilty: Burglary duo who terrorised priest

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 imprisoned 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.

Belfast Telegraph

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