Limerick father-of-two hid CCTV footage to impede murder case
A Limerick father-of-two will be sentenced in the New Year for hiding his family’s CCTV device to impede the apprehension of his brother and uncle for murder.
Ian Flanagan (24) of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect in the city was last week found guilty of two counts of assisting an offender by hiding the device. He had pleaded not guilty but a jury brought in a unanimous verdict of guilty.
His crime related to the murder of Gerard McMahon, who was stabbed to death on January 18, 2012, as he arrived to visit his cousin on Lenihan Avenue.
Ian Flanagan’s brother, Seán Flanagan (28), and their uncle, Paul Colbert (46), were last week found guilty of murdering the 43-year-old and sentenced to life in prison. They had denied murder during their four-week trial.
Detective Sergeant Denis Treacy testified today that there was bad blood between Seán Flanagan and the deceased; Mr McMahon was friendly with Seán Flanagan’s ex-girlfriend.
He explained that the family’s CCTV system captured the Flanagan brothers creeping into their home shortly after midnight, following their sighting of Mr Mc Mahon in the area.
It was then disconnected and did not capture the two killers heading to and from the murder. However neighbouring cameras captured these movements.
The detective told the Central Criminal Court that Ian Flanagan was later arrested and eventually admitted moving the CCTV device away from the house.
He said there was panic and that he stored it on waste ground, after taking it out of the bin, where his uncle had put it.
He identified himself on CCTV footage from the following morning, which showed him retrieving the device from this waste ground and bringing it to the house where it was found.
His case in his trial was that he was very panicked and didn’t have the intention required to commit the offence.
D Sgt Treacy said that Ian Flanagan’s attempt to disadvantage the prosecution did not have a long-lasting effect as gardai found the device quickly.
However he said that Flanagan had made his admissions only after overwhelming evidence was put to him.
He said he had previous convictions, including for possession of a realistic imitation firearm. He was on bail for another offence when he hid the CCTV device, he added.
He said Flanagan had got bail in relation to this crime within a couple of days of the offence, but voluntarily went into custody a few months later.
The detective agreed with Brendan Nix SC, defending, that Flanagan had two children, aged one and five, one of whom had medical difficulties. He had missed his second child’s first birthday and first steps.
He agreed that he had expressed remorse in his last garda interview.
He also agreed with Mr Nix that ‘it was really pretty stupid of them to stop recording’ as they knew gardai had knowledge of their CCTV system.
He also agreed that Flanagan had brought the device to a vacant house next to one of the most garda-observed houses in Limerick.
The detective suspected that there might have been a lot of family pressure on Ian Flanagan, along with a misplaced loyalty to his brother.
“I believe his loyalty to his brother has exposed him in the past to a lot more trouble than he might have otherwise got into,” he said.
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan remanded him in custody and adjourned sentencing until January 20th.