Well-known bar owner admits €1.16m tax cheat, now facing jail
A well-known bar owner is facing the threat of jail next month over a £1million (€1.16m) tax cheating racket.
Publican Bartley Murphy stood in the dock of Downpatrick Crown Court where he admitted a single charge of failing to declare all his earnings.
The 53-year-old previously denied the charge when he appeared for arraignment in the same court last November.
The charge stated that he intended to defraud by concealing or failing to declare all his income to HMRC on dates between April 1, 2007 and March 31, 2015.
He was accused of cheating the public revenue of income tax and national insurance contributions.
The trial had been scheduled to start in December but the case was adjourned as the defence team awaited a report from a forensic accountant.
But Sunday Life has now learned that within the past few weeks, Murphy appeared back at Downpatrick Crown Court where he was re-arraigned and pleaded guilty to "cheating the public revenue".
Sentencing was adjourned until May 4 for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
Bartley Murphy is a well-known figure in the town of Downpatrick, where he runs a number of businesses. He also has 46 previous criminal convictions.
As well as a building services firm, he also owns the popular Murphy's bar and restaurant in Downpatrick's Market Street.
One local source told Sunday Life: "Bartley was going around the town last year saying that the taxman was chasing him for £1.4m.
"It appears someone tipped off the Revenue that he wasn't paying his full amount in income taxes. The VAT man is also interested in his financial affairs.''
Described as an "outspoken character'', helicopter-loving Murphy became the voice of local business owners whose premises were damaged in floods over a number of years leading up to 2016.
The publican said that his premises had been flooded repeatedly, costing him around £200,000 in clean-up bills over 10 years. In July 2014, at the local magistrates court, Murphy was fined a total of £750 for assault and criminal damage and ordered to pay his victim £750 compensation, after he assaulted the man serving legal papers on him and damaged his camera.