Thursday 26 April 2018

Developer who made up kidnap story 'has history of disappearing'

15/3/2013; Kevin McGeever leaves Gort garda station. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / Irish Independent
15/3/2013; Kevin McGeever leaves Gort garda station. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / Irish Independent
Kevin McGeever
Kevin Michael McGeever’s mansion in Craughwell, Co Galway
Kevin Michael McGeever’s mansion in Craughwell, Co Galway

Paul Williams

PROPERTY developer Kevin McGeever – who pretended he was kidnapped and held hostage for eight months – has a history of "disappearing for long periods" throughout his life, it has emerged.

The 68-year-old former tycoon admitted to gardai that he stayed in an isolated cottage in the "west of Ireland" where he purposely lost weight and gave himself a dishevelled appearance to back up his bizarre abduction ruse.

A garda source told the Irish Independent last night: "He apparently has a habit of going off and staying by himself in an isolated location for years. He would often disappear for months at a time. He said he likes the solitude."

The garda team who investigated Mr McGeever's kidnap story have identified the house where he spent most of his eight-month "ordeal" and were due to visit it yesterday.

He originally claimed that he had been abducted by armed men last May and held in a steel container underground until his release in January.

But gardai soon began to suspect that he was telling lies. Last Thursday, they arrested Mr McGeever and brought him to Gort station for questioning on suspicion that he had been wasting police time. He continued to insist his story was true until he finally came clean shortly before he was due to be released from custody on Friday night.

He said he concocted the elaborate ruse because he was under intense financial pressure from investors who wanted their money back.

Mr McGeever told officers that he believed the people pursuing him would back off when he re-emerged as a kidnap victim for fear that they would be implicated as possible suspects.

The former high-flyer, whose international property business collapsed owing millions to investors, is now facing a potential jail term of between 12 months and five years for wasting garda time.

Mr McGeever's concocted 'ordeal' was reported around the world after he was found rambling on a country road in Leitrim in January.

Offence

A file based on the evidence gathered by detectives and Mr McGeever's admissions will be forwarded to the DPP recommending that he be charged under Section 12 of the Criminal Law Act 1976, which makes it an offence to waste police time.

The DPP has the discretion to decide whether to have the case dealt with summarily in the District Court or on indictment before a judge and jury in the Circuit Criminal Court. The maximum sentence in the District Court is 12 months' imprisonment, or five years in the higher court.

Sources believe that given Mr McGeever's age and the fact that he finally admitted his false story, he will be dealt with in the District Court.

A garda source said: "He is probably more to be pitied than anything else and he has an argument that he was driven to take this course of action out of desperation.

"It was clear from the start that his story didn't stack up and very quickly a picture began to appear of a man who had chronic financial problems and a reason to stage his own abduction.

"His medical condition was not that of a man who had been held in freezing cold and darkness for eight months with only a ham sandwich for food on a daily basis. Apart from his loss of weight, he was in remarkably good health.

"Now that he has admitted what he did, Mr McGeever has a lot more problems on his plate than from the gardai. He has a lot of very angry investors and clients to deal with."

Mr McGeever is wanted by the authorities in Dubai for alleged property fraud and there are a number of legal cases pending against him in the Dublin High Court.

Irish Independent

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