Tuesday 20 August 2019

One of the Kinahan cartel's most senior associates accused of having '10,000-volt' stun gun disguised as torch, court hears

Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh
Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh

Richard Vernalls

ONE of the Kinahan cartel’s most senior associates has gone on trial in England accused of a having a “10,000-volt” stun gun disguised as a torch in his kitchen at home.

Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh, (51), had already admitted a separate offence of having the stun gun, found during a search of his home by National Crime Agency officers on January 12, jurors heard.

Dubliner Kavanagh has been a long-term target of several national Garda units and is suspected of controlling a lucrative drugs patch in the British Midlands.

Sources have described the operation between UK police and gardaí as one of the most significant joint criminal investigations between the two countries.

Yesterday, Jurors heard he was arrested in the international arrivals’ hall after getting off a plane at Birmingham Airport, earlier that same day.

During a 13-hour search, officers discovered the working pink-coloured stun gun which prosecutors said had the appearance of a “Maglite-type” torch, on a shelf above a kitchen cupboard.

Opening the case at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Tuesday, prosecuting barrister Simon Davis told the nine women and three men of the jury, Kavanagh had accepted “simple possession” of the banned weapon.

But he added the defendant denied a further offence of having a disguised stun gun and that it would be for jurors to decide whether they considered it to be disguised to look like a torch.

Mr Davis said: “We say it is a stun gun, disguised as a torch - it had the appearance of a torch.”

Describing the stun gun, which was shown to jurors in court, Mr Davis said: “It’s pink, it’s got Police written in capital letters on the handle and it’s a Maglite-type appearance.

“You can see the front end of the stun gun and you can see its got some metal filaments on the end, semi-circular metal filaments, and that’s the bit where the electricity is discharged as it is used.”

The Crown prosecutor said that “two other similar items were found in one of the bedrooms” at the home in Tamworth, Staffordshire - though it was not Kavanagh’s room.

Mr Davis told jurors that in interview, father-of-six Kavanagh told officers he had taken the stun gun “off one of the kids when they were messing about with it and had thrown it on top of kitchen units”.

Kavanagh, a car dealer, told officers that another family member had brought the stun gun back to the house after buying it while holidaying in “China, Spain or France”.

He said the two other similar and functioning items, recovered from what was described in court by his barrister Alistair Webster QC as “a teenager’s bedroom”, had also been bought in the same way.

When the pink stun gun was sent off for analysis, a scientist concluded it was was a hand-held stun gun with the appearance of a torch, with a high-voltage “in the region of 10,000 volts”.

Explaining the law surrounding possession of stun guns in the UK, Mr Davis said: “In this country, devices of this nature are subject to general prohibition.

“To have a stun gun is unlawful.”

He added: “At an earlier hearing you will hear the defendant pleaded guilty to simple possession of a stun gun.

“He’s accepted he’s in possession of a stun gun, as being in possession is unlawful.

“The law is different if the item is a stun gun that is disguised.

“He denies he was in possession of stun gun disguised as a torch.

“That’s a matter for you, the jury.”

In interview, Kavanagh, said the pink stun gun had been in the house “the past 12 months” and had been used “frightening the grandparents”.

He added: “I reckon it could have been a couple of months ago I think some of the kids were messing with it.

“It was brought back from holiday and I said “give us that”, one kid was messing with it, then another kid was messing with it.”

Kavanagh told officers: “There’s no other sinister explanation, that’s it.”

“They (the stun guns) should have been thrown out a long time ago,” he added.

Kavanagh, of Sutton Road, Mile Oak, Tamworth, Staffordshire, denies the charge and the trial continues.

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