herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Profits boom for 'Lying Eyes' men

A COMPANY run by the intended victims of 'Lying Eyes' Sharon Collins' murder plot has recorded profits of over €250,000.

Downes & Howard Ltd, is run by PJ Howard (61) and his sons Robert (32) and Niall (27).

Collins, who was PJ Howard's lover, was convicted two years ago of soliciting hitman Essam Eid to kill the three men.

Accounts filed by Downes & Howard -- where 'Lying Eyes' once worked -- revealed a sharp upturn in the business' fortunes.

It made a profit of €259,000 to the end of December last, following a loss of €178,000 to the end of December 2008.

A second company, Waymill Ltd -- controlled by PJ and Robert Howard -- recorded profits of €175,075.

Collins appealed her conviction to the Court of Criminal Appeal. The 46-year-old from Kildysart Road in Ennis, Co Clare, was jailed for six years after being found guilty in July 2008 after a 32-day trial.

She was accused of using the name 'lyingeyes98' to investigate the hiring of a hitman over the internet.

Downes & Howard's accumulated profits increased from €1.456m to €1.71m last year.

The value of its assets rose to €27.2m, increasing from €26.8m.

Its net assets are valued at €10.7m. Waymill Ltd recorded a profit of €175,075 last year --up from a €7,053 profit recorded in 2008.

It had accumulated profits of €707,641 to the end of December 2008.

In March, the Court of Criminal Appeal reserved judgment on the appeal by Collins against her conviction for soliciting and conspiracy to murder.

Her co-accused, Las Vegas poker dealer Essam Eid, was jailed for demanding money with menace and handling stolen property.

The Court of Criminal Appeal upheld his six-year sentence.

Collins's lawyers told the appeal the case against their client was "contaminated" from the beginning.

The court heard evidence about the poison ricin, which was found in the prison cell of Eid, should not have been put before the jury. He said the toxin had not been preserved to allow the defence carry out its own tests. The State was not standing over the conspiracy charge because the jury acquitted Eid on the same charge.

However, it stood over the conviction for soliciting a killer.

hnews@herald.ie

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