Irish farmer who told repo men to strip and get in with agitated boar found guilty

A pig farmer who ordered two men from a repossession company to strip naked and get into a pen with an agitated boar will be sentenced in February. He was found guilty on Thursday on a number of charges in relation to the incident. Donal Connaughton (54), from Elfeet, Newtowncashel, Co Longford, was found guilty of two counts of false imprisonment, two charges of threatening to cause serious harm, one count of assault and two of criminal damage.

He was found not guilty on another charge of assault by the jury of seven men and five women at Longford Circuit Court. His wife Margaret (52) was found not guilty of all six charges that she appeared on before the same court. The jury deliberated for almost four hours before returning their unanimous verdicts to Judge Anthony Hunt. Earlier, the jury had asked to listen to the 22-minute audio, which had been recorded by one of the repossession men on his phone when the incident happened on April 29, 2010.

Patrick Mulvey and Justin Tighe, employees of a repossession company called Assets Security in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, had earlier told the court that they feared for their lives after going to JAC Pigs Ltd in Co Longford to repossess items on behalf of GE Money. A scuffle had taken place in the yard at the pig farm during which Mr Mulvey and Mr Tighe said they were assaulted. They had told the court in evidence that Donal Connaughton had ordered them to strip and get into the pen with the agitated boar and they feared they were going to be violated by the animal. The animal could be heard on the audio recording.

The two men were heard pleading to be let go and promised Donal Connaughton that they would never return to the premises, but he said he wanted to "teach them a lesson". The two men were told to strip naked and they would be allowed walk out of the yard and when they refused Donal Connaughton made them get down on their knees and say the 'Our Father' before they were let go, leaving their truck behind. The two repo men had arrived at the farm to repossess a generator and two power-washers. Donal Connaughton was found guilty of the false imprisonment and threat to cause serious harm to Mr Mulvey and Mr Tighe. He was found guilty of assaulting Mr Mulvey and causing criminal damage to a phone. He was found not guilty of assaulting Mr Tighe.