herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Man kept 67 stolen books to 'decorate his house'

Courts

Andrew Shannon, 46, whose last known addresses were in Dublin, were arrested and questioned in relation to the damage of a Monet painting in Dublin.
Andrew Shannon, 46, whose last known addresses were in Dublin, were arrested and questioned in relation to the damage of a Monet painting in Dublin.

A man previously jailed for damaging a €10m Monet painted has been found guilty of possessing 67 stolen antique books, including an extremely rare King James Bible.

Andrew Shannon (51) was accused of illegally handling the books which originated in the library of Carton House in Kildare, the historical family seat of the FitzGerald family.

The books, including a 1660 edition of the King James Bible of which only six exist, went missing after they were put in storage during the restoration of the country house.

Gardai say they were later found in the house of Shannon during a search. Shannon told investigators that he bought the books at a fair or feté for about Irl£300 and was using them to decorate his house.

Shannon of Willans Way, Ongar, Dublin pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the books at his home, while knowing or being reckless as to whether they were stolen on March 3, 2007.

After a five-day trial and almost four hours of deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty.

Under the new EU directive on victims, transposed into Irish law last November, Judge Petria McDonnell invited the owners of Carton House to provide a victim impact report for the sentence hearing next April.

Shannon is on bail on this matter and was remanded on the same conditions.

Damage

He is in custody in Shelton Abbey prison, where he is serving a sentence after being convicted in December 2014 of criminal damage to a €10m Monet painting in June 2012.

In 2011 he was convicted of handling stolen property involving maps dating from 1651 with a value of €6,000.

After his arrest Shannon told gardai that he buys lots of books and that the ones gardai were concerned with "are of no real value" but that they looked good so he used them to decorate his house

He agreed with them that the books originated from Carton House but said he had bought them at a market fair or fete many years ago for Irl£300 (€380).

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