By David Hennessy
Sentencing has been delayed for six members of the same family who have been tried and found guilty of the theft of large numbers of catalytic converters.
Although the six members of the McDonagh family pleaded to guilty ahead of trial, when sentencing was due on Friday October 3, their defence team claimed the defendants were unaware what they were pleading to which was a total of 148 counts of conspiracy.
The defendants Martin McDonagh, Joseph McDonagh, Michael McDonagh, John McDonagh, Gerard McDoanagh and Kevin McDonagh are happy to plead guilty to what can be proven. So far, this is 38 counts of conspiracy and police have already collected 30+ statements to make this almost 70 charges. Police are now collecting evidence to prove guilt for the remaining 70+ charges that relate to the case. The defendants will appear again before Harrow Crown Court at 2pm on Friday October 31 when they will be sentenced.
The McDonagh family were arrested by Brent Police earlier this year for stealing catalytic converters. It is believed they wanted the converters, which stop harmful exhaust gasses being emitted by cars, as they contain precious metals such as platinum and palladium.
There has been a decrease in catalytic converters thefts across London since their arrests.
In August, Gerard, Martin, Joseph, Michael and Kevin admitted conspiring with each other to steal catalytic converters from motor vehicles and John pleaded guilty to five counts of theft of catalytic converters from motor vehicles.
Last Friday October 3, the public gallery was full of other members of the McDonagh family, some of whom were visibly distressed to learn the proceedings would drag on. Some members of the family have already served more than four months on remand which will be taken off the eventual sentence.
Europol report that the cost for a vehicle owner to replace a stolen catalytic converter can be over £1,180, while on the second hand market the minimum worth of the precious metal contained in one converter is £40.