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rights, freedoms and repression |
Tuesday August 22, 2006 17:49 by Sean Corcoran - Daily Ireland 22 Aug 2006
IRA informer Sean O'Callaghan was tied up by two men
Daily Ireland 22/08/2006
IRA informer Sean O'Callaghan was tied up by two men he met in a gay pub, and held at knifepoint while they ransacked the house he was meant to be looking after, a court heard yesterday.
The former IRA man had invited the pair back to the home he was looking after for his friend, author Ruth Dudley Edwards, following an evening drinking with them in a nearby gay pub.
The 52-year-old had selected the bar "only because it was the nearest", but once the men were back at the home they knocked him to the floor, tied him up, threatened him at knifepoint and burgled the house.
Gay Mitchell's support for Queen also on Daily Ireland front page with O'Callaghan story
One of the men, Yousef Samhan (26), was caught by police. He denied robbery, telling the court he had gone back for a bondage session with O'Callaghan, and claiming the IRA man-turned supergrass had asked to be tied up, but he was convicted by the jury.
Isleworth Crown Court heard how O'Callaghan, who has published his autobiography The Informer, and has refused to take up a new identity despite being wanted by the IRA, had been house sitting at the property in Pope's Lane, Ealing, in September last year.
He decided to go to the pub and ended up at gay bar West Five. He invited Samhan and another man back to the house for another drink, but once there they attacked him, said Stephanie Dodd, prosecuting.
She told the court: "Mr O'Callaghan was tied to a red kitchen chair with electrical flex, threatened with a large kitchen knife and watched helplessly as the men ransacked the house and made off with a computer, jewellery, credit cards and cash."
They were seen leaving on a scooter carrying two large plastic carriers and went on to use the credit cards at two service stations.
Father-of-two Samhan was recognised by police on CCTV and his finger prints were found at the house.
The other man has not been caught.
Samhan eventually gave himself up and was arrested, but he denied taking part in the robbery, saying it must have happened after he left.
When the case came to trial, he told the court he and Callaghan had been involved in a gay bondage session and said that the IRA double killer had asked to be tied up.
However, the jury took less than half an hour to find Samhan, of Newstead Court, Byron Way, Northolt, guilty of robbery on September 6 last year.
He admitted three charges of obtaining goods by deception with the stolen credit cards.
Jailing him for five and a half years, Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson told him he was lucky not to be facing an indeterminate sentence of either life or for public protection.
He said: "You have been convicted of an extremely serious offence and only lately have you admitted the accuracy of the prosecution case and the fact you were guilty of it.
"You were invited to this house by Mr O'Callaghan. You shared a drink together at the pub and at the house, and then you took advantage of him.
"He was knocked to the floor, held, threatened by you at knifepoint and then tied up, and having achieved that, you stole property from the house.
"It is correct that no serious injuries were caused, but it must have been an extremely frightening experience, especially involving the threat of a knife and the fact he was tied up."
Earlier defence counsel Joanne Cochrane said Samhan had been in custody since his arrest and had taken advantage of various courses and become drug free, adding that all his offending is born of an addiction to hard drugs and alcohol.
Police said that the most upsetting aspect for the home-owner and published author Ruth Dudley Edwards, was the loss of her computer on which she had been working. It was never recovered