Monday 26 September 2016

Amateur antique dealer jailed after being caught with 57 stolen books from Carton House

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 17/06/2016 | 09:58

Andrew Shannon
Andrew Shannon

An amateur antique dealer has been jailed after he was caught with 57 stolen antique books, including one of just six editions of the King James Bible from 1660.

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The books, which are valued at around €6,500 overall, were allegedly found during a search of Andrew Shannon’s home in Willians Way, Ongar, Dublin.

Shannon (51) pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the books at his home while knowing or being reckless as to whether they were stolen on March 3, 2007.

Judge Petria McDonnell sentenced him to one year in prison with the final six months suspended.

Shannon was previously jailed for damaging a €10m Monet painting at the National Gallery in June 2012. In December 2014, he was sentenced to six years imprisonment with the final 15 months suspended.

He moved to appeal his conviction last year and is awaiting judgement.

Read More: Man jailed for damaging €10m Claude Monet painting moves to appeal conviction

The 57 antique books went missing during restoration of Carton House in Kildare, although Shannon told gardaí he had bought them at a fete in the midlands in 2002.

Conor Mallaghan told the trial he has worked at Carton House since 1994, and oversaw the restoration after his father’s company bought the property in 1977.

Before construction began, Mr Mallaghan said the library books, along with all other items in the house, had been put into storage, and he had taken a photograph of each book beforehand.

When Mr Mallaghan went to return the books to the library, he noticed they were missing.

He reported the incident in November of that year, and in March 2007, a number of the “distinctive books” were found “openly on show” on “two bookshelves” in Shannon’s house, the Irish Examiner reports.

Shannon was arrested in November 2007.

The court heard that the books were “an antique gem”, including an extremely rare edition of the King James Bible from 1660.

The total value of the books was estimated to be €6,500.

Judge McDonnell said Shannon was an amateur antique dealer who had a “propensity based on previous convictions of acquiring things”.

She added that the books were “part of the heritage of Carton House”.

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