Pair are accused of aggravated burglaries

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Two men accused of robbing a priest and a retired Sacristan and his wife at gunpoint are to be questioned about other allegations, a court heard on Tuesday, (August 30).

Between them 32-year-old Owen John Maughan and Patrick John Maughan (37) face a total of 53 charges arising from gun related incidents in Belfast, Dungannon, Holywood, Newcastle and Castlewellan and on Tuesday, a police inspector asked for the pair to be released into police custody for questioning on other matters.

A Detective Constable confirmed to Newtownards Magistrates Court the men are not sentenced prisoners and will be returned to prison within the permitted 72 hours but added they will likely be back “within 24 hours”.

The Maughans did not hear what was said, however, after a defence lawyer told the court he had been advised “it maybe better to deal with the matter in their absence.”

Patrick Maughan, from Birchdale Manor in Lurgan, is in custody facing 31 offences including possessing a police firearm with intent to endanger life, two aggravated burglaries, three attempted aggravated burglaries, possessing a gun and weapons with intent to commit crimes, three robberies, two of false imprisonment, attempted theft, four aggravated car thefts and 11 driving offences arising from the high speed police chase which culminated in his arrest on 24 July this year.

Meanwhile Owen Maughan, from the travellers camp on the Glen Road in west Belfast, faces 23 charges arising from the same incidents but he also faces further charges in relation to an aggravated burglary at the Parochial House of St Peter’s Cathedral where Father Peter Carlin was robbed of cash, jewellery and electronic devices, and falsely imprisoned on 13 July this year.

The offences on which the Maughans are jointly charged arise from a number of aggravated burglaries within a short time period on 22 July in Dungannon, Holywood and west Belfast and then other incidents in Co Down on 24 July.

Father Denis Ryan, a 70-year-old priest from Australia providing holiday cover at St Michael the Archangel, was threatened at about 7.50pm at the parochial house on Finaghy Road North when two men forced their way in.

They ransacked the house, normally home to parish priest Fr David Delargy, before making off with cash and keys after triggering an alarm in the adjoining church.

Later that night at about 10pm, a former Catholic church sacristan and his wife were threatened and held at gunpoint during an aggravated burglary at their home on the Circular Road Dungannon.

The couple live next door to the parochial house for Dungannon parish – leading to speculation that they may have been targeted by mistake.

Two men, one armed with a gun, threatened the couple before fleeing with a sum of money and jewellery.

The Maughans were arrested after the police chased a stolen Hyundai car from the Saintfield Road in Co Down to the Seven Mile Straight in Co Antrim.

The car had allegedly been stolen by the pair and had been reported stolen following other alleged incidents of attempted aggravated burglary, false imprisonment and robbery and Newcastle and Castlewellan.