Amateur antiques dealer gets jail

An amateur antiques dealer has been jailed after he was caught with 57 stolen antique books, including an extremely rare King James Bible.

Andrew Shannon was jailed for six months. Picture: Courtpix

Andrew Shannon, aged 51, was previously jailed for damaging a €10m Monet painting at the National Gallery in December 2014.

Shannon, of Willans Way, Ongar, Dublin, pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the books at his home while knowing or being reckless as to whether they were stolen on March 3, 2007. He was convicted by a jury last February.

Judge Petria McDonnell sentenced him to one year in prison with the final six months suspended.

Shannon was previously sentenced to six years imprisonment with the final 15 months suspended for damaging the Claude Monet painting. He had denied the charge but was convicted following trial. He moved to appeal his conviction in December of last year but judgment is still awaited.

Shannon’s 35 other convictions include theft and burglary.

The court heard that the 57 stolen books had originated in the library of Carton House in Kildare, the historical family seat of the FitzGerald family.

Detective Garda Des Breathnach told Maurice Coffey, prosecuting, that in November 2006 the owner of Carton House reported that the books had been stolen after they were put in storage during the restoration of the country house.

The “distinctive books” were later found “openly on show” in the house of Shannon in March 2007. Shannon was arrested in November of the same year.

Counsel said the books were “an antique gem” and included a 1660 edition of the King James Bible. There was an agreement at the trial that the total overall value of the books was €6,500.

Shannon told gardaí he purchased these books at a fete in the Midlands in 2002.

John Fitzgerald, defending, said his client suffered from a heart condition and asked the court to take this into account.

Judge McDonnell said that Shannon trained as a French polisher and was an amateur antiques dealer who had a “propensity based on previous convictions of acquiring things.”

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