Tuesday 17 September 2019

Pair charged with stealing €90,000 waxwork heads

Thieves struck at museum, court is told

One of the waxwork heads is carried by a garda
One of the waxwork heads is carried by a garda
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A man and woman have been charged with stealing three wax dummy heads worth an estimated €90,000 from Dublin's National Wax Museum.

Michael Murray (33) and Natasha Rice (33) are both alleged to have taken the sculptures from the museum before gardaí stopped them nearby on the city's quays.

They were granted bail at Dublin District Court yesterday when they appeared, charged with theft.

It is understood two of the heads alleged to have been stolen were Fenian leader, Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, and Kerry footballer Mick O'Connell.

Mr Murray, of no fixed address, and Ms Rice, with an address at a city centre hostel, are both charged with one count of stealing three wax heads from the National Wax Museum on Westmoreland Street on Wednesday, August 21.

Garda Niall Cunningham, who had been on duty in the city centre under Operation Pier, told Judge John O'Leary he arrested Mr Murray at Aston Quay at 3.30pm on suspicion of handling stolen property.

He was brought to Pearse Street garda station, where he was detained and later charged with theft.

He made no reply after he was cautioned and was handed a copy of the charge sheet, the garda said.

Bailed: Michael Murray leaving court.
Bailed: Michael Murray leaving court.

There was no Garda objection to bail subject to conditions.

Mr Murray's barrister, Garrett Casey, said these bail terms had already been canvassed and there was consent.

Judge O'Leary granted Mr Murray bail with no cash lodgement required, on condition he stays alcohol-free and signs on three times per week at Kevin Street garda station between the hours of 9am and 9pm.

"I want him to be sober when he's signing on," Judge O'Leary said. Mr Murray has also been ordered to stay away from Westmoreland Street, and "in particular the National Wax Museum", under the terms of his bail.

He was remanded to appear in court again on a date in October for the directions of the DPP to be made available.

Mr Murray was also granted free legal aid after Mr Casey made an application on his behalf.

"My instructions are that he's not working," Mr Casey said.

Garda Sergeant Gail Smith handed in to the court the evidence of Ms Rice's arrest, her charge and caution by certificate.

Ms Rice was also granted bail without any Garda objections and her case was adjourned to the same date as her co-accused.

As he read the charge sheet, Judge O'Leary remarked: "Three heads?"

Sgt Smith confirmed to the judge this was the allegation in the charge.

Neither accused was required to address the court during the hearings and both were released soon after.

The accused have not yet indicated how they intend to plead to the charges, which are under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Irish Independent

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