Thug Gibbons, Loses Appeal. This Drogheda Feud, has many Stories to Reveal in Time; People know, about High Flyers, and those Who Left, in a Hurry for Overseas, Wonder Why?

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Cornelius Price’s relative quizzed over double murder loses submachine gun conviction appeal

He was previously questioned by gardai in relation to the disappearance of Willie Maughan, and his pregnant girlfriend Ana Varslavane on April 14, 2015.

Cornelius Price
Cornelius Price
Stephen Gibbons
Stephen Gibbons
Stephen Gibbons
Stephen Gibbons

26th August 2022

A MEMBER of the gang led by Cornelius Price has lost an appeal against a seven years sentence for possession of a submachine gun at the height of the Drogheda feud.

Stephen ‘Gibby’ Gibbons, (58) who was previously quizzed by gardai over a suspected double murder believed to have been carried out by Price’s gang, was jailed last year over possession of the 9 millimetre Makarov calibre PM-63RAK submachinegun.

The weapon was in a black sack found in the ditch on a lane leading to Price’s compound at Rockleigh House where Gibbons lived on January 15, 2020.

Price is aligned to the Maguire faction of the Drogheda feud and gardai were in the area at the time because they because had received information that the torso of slain Drogheda teenager Keane Mulready Woods was to be delivered to Price’s compound.

Price is facing charges in relation to an organised kidnap and blackmail plot in the UK but may never face trial as he is currently gravely ill in hospital after being diagnosed with a condition limbic encephalitis.

Gibbons, who is originally from Rochdale in England, was married to Price’s aunt but after that relationship broke down, he remained living at Price’s compound.

Gardai encountered Gibbons in in a laneway at the entrance to Rockleigh House on January 15, 2020 and when they spoke to him he said he was out for a walk and told them he lived at Rockleigh House.

He made his way back towards the house after speaking to them but they encountered him again around 50 minutes later.

This time he told them he was walking his dog but there was no dog with him. They searched him and found nothing but when they searched the nearby area, they found the firearm and ammunition.

Cornelius Price
Cornelius Price

DNA later linked him to the firearm.

Gibbons was found unanimously guilty of possession of the firearm but acquitted of possession of ammunition by a jury at Trim Circuit last year.

He launched an appeal against the conviction on one the sole ground that the verdict was perverse and should be quashed.

He argued that the jury found him guilty of possession of the firearm but acquitted him of possession of the ammunition found with it. He argued that he believed the jury placed significant weight on the hair found on the gun to convict him.

He argued that hair was a movable object and could have got there without him coming into contact with the firearm.

However, the appeal court dismissed his appeal in a judgement delivered by MS Justice Isobel Kennedy.

She said; “Although there was evidence which, if accepted by the jury could have led to a guilty verdict on both counts, there was specific evidence in respect of the possession of the firearm, that of course being, the hair adhering to the viscous substance on the weapon. The verdicts did not amount to an unlikely view of the evidence, but one which the jury could, on the evidence properly have concluded. The fact that the jury did not return a guilty verdict on the count of possession of the ammunition in the circumstances, but did so in respect of the other count, did not render the verdict inconsistent.

Gibbons had 31 previous convictions, 29 of which were in the UK. He also received a one month sentence Blanchardstown District Court in 2020 for trying to smuggle a mobile phone into Wheatfield prison in 2017.

He was previously questioned by gardai in relation to the disappearance of Willie Maughan, and his pregnant girlfriend Ana Varslavane at the property in Gormanston, Co Meath, on April 14, 2015.

Gardai suspect that Gibbons was present when the tragic couple were murdered but he is not suspected of being an active participant in it.

Willie’s father Joe, who has campaigned tirelessly for information about the couple’s murder and disappearance, told the Sunday World last year that he believed Gibbons could provide gardai with information on the murder.

Even though he was only a gopher for them, he would know who was involved in doing away with the bodies.”

Joe Maughan added that, before his death, Willie had told him how Gibby was physically abused by members of the gang.

“William used to tell me about Cornelius Price beating him up and kicking him around the yard, locking him up in his shed.”

The couple were killed because they planned to leave Price’s compound at Gormanstown to start a new life, but gang associates feared they could be linked to the murder of Benny Whitehouse in Balbriggan the year before, it is before it is believed.

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