Man charged with theft of 800-year-old Crusaders' head

The Crusader which was decapitated at the crypt in St Michan's Church

A 35-year-old man has been charged with burglary over the theft of the mummified head of a 800-year-old "Crusader" knight from a church in Dublin.

The Crusader was decapitated at the crypt in St Michan's Church, Church Street, sometime over the weekend of February 23 and 24 last and was taken along with another skull.

The break-in was discovered on February 25 when a guide was about to open the church for visitors, but discovered the head of the Crusader had been severed from its mummified body and was missing.

On March 5, investigating gardaí from the Bridewell station recovered the head of The Crusader and another skull that had been taken from the crypt.

Brian Bridgeman, with an address at Kings Inns Street, Dublin 1, was brought to appear before Judge Michael Walsh at Dublin District Court today.

Evidence of arrest, charge and caution was given by Garda Niall Cadden.

The man, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, “made no reply” when charged, the court heard.

The defendant is charged under Section 12 of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act that while trespassing at St Michan’s Church he committed theft, at time between February 23 and February 24 last.

Judge Walsh asked Garda Cadden if the case related to recent matters he had read about in the newspapers. Garda Cadden confirmed it did and the court heard directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions were awaited.

He also objected to bail.

Legal aid was granted following an application by defence solicitor Eoin Lysaght who asked the court to set bail.

Judge Walsh agreed to grant bail in the defendant’s own bond of €200 of which €100 must be lodged before he can be released with conditions that he must reside at another address furnished to the court, sign on daily at Blanchardstown Garda Station, obey a 10pm – 6am curfew and be contactable at all times by mobile phone.

The man, who remained silent during the hearing, was remanded in custody with consent to bail on these terms and will face his next hearing on March 21 at Cloverhill District Court.

Last week another man, in his 20s, was arrested as part of the investigation but he was later released without charge.

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