Changed passport name was a ‘gesture’

A CLARE woman accused of hiring a hitman to kill her partner and his two sons told gardaí she obtained a passport with her partner’s surname as a “gesture” to him a jury at the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Sharon Collins, aged 45, with an address at Ballybeg House, Kildysart Road and Essam Eid, aged 52, an Egyptian man with a Las Vegas address have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to kill PJ, Robert and Niall Howard between August 1, 2006 and September 26, 2006. Collins also denies hiring Eid to kill the men.

Eid denies demanding €100,000 from Robert Howard to cancel the contracts. He also denies breaking into the Howard family business at Westgate Business Park and stealing two computers and other items.

Detective Sergeant Michael Mahony told Una Ni Raifeartaigh, prosecuting, that in an interview on June 25, 2007, Collins said she had wanted to get a passport in the name Sharon Howard to show her partner PJ Howard that she was happy to take his name.

“I thought he would like it. I wanted to belong.”

She disagreed when it was suggested that Mr Howard had not wanted to be married to her, pointing out that they had signed a document to leave with his solicitor stating that they would never marry.

She admitted paying $1,295 to buy a Mexican proxy marriage over the internet but said that it was a fake. “It’s just a con job.” She said she had attempted to change her name by deed poll in April 2005 but the form had not been processed correctly.

Collins told gardaí that she used the proxy marriage certificate to get a passport because her existing one had been water damaged and needed to be replaced. She said she had been surprised when the passport office accepted the certificate.


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