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State's €300-a-month bill for slain gangster's BMW

A BMW owned by slain gangster John Paul Joyce is costing the State €300 a month to keep in storage, a court has been told.

Solicitors for the State this week asked a judge for some finality on the matter, as the car cannot remain in storage for ever.

Mr Joyce's partner, Leah Murphy, had previously claimed the car, which was seized by gardai, should be returned to her.

But another woman, Karen Duffy, argued that Mr Joyce sold the Northern Ireland-registered car to her and her partner David Goulding for €7,000 cash, and they were the legal owners of the black vehicle.

Last July, Judge Patrick McMahon ruled the car should remain in possession of the State as neither Mr Joyce's partner nor Ms Duffy had proved they had a proper claim to it.

Solicitors for the State have now asked Judge McMahon to finalise the matter, as it is over a year since the vehicle was seized, and six months since the judge decided the BMW should remain in the possession of the State.

The State solicitor said neither Ms Murphy nor Ms Duffy have appealed the judge's decision, even though the State wrote to them in November last.

Furthermore, he said the vehicle costs the State €300 a month to store, the value of the car was falling, and it was unlawfully present in the State as the VRT had not been paid.



Logbook

He also warned that if the matter continued for much longer, the State may seek an order for costs.

Ms Duffy's solicitor Fiona Brennan asked for the matter to be adjourned to allow her speak to her client, saying she was unaware the vehicle had not been registered.

Ms Duffy, of Milltree Crescent in Ratoath, previously claimed she and Mr Goulding paid cash for the car, had the car keys and the logbook and she was insured to drive it.

But Ms Murphy, of Ferrycarrig Road in Coolock, claimed no money ever exchanged hands, and there wasn't a paper trail to prove Mr Joyce sold the car to Ms Duffy.

Ms Murphy previously told Blanchardstown District Court that on the day Mr Joyce went missing in January 2010, he had gone to give the logbook of the BMW to Mr Goulding.

But Ms Duffy disputed this, saying she had the logbook days before Mr Joyce went missing.

Judge McMahon adjourned the matter for two weeks for finalisation.

hnews@herald.ie