Dead man gives evidence in court

Published: 6 October 1913

William Gaughran of Cookstown appeared as a witness at the Kells Petty Sessions yesterday which, in many ways, was surprising given that he officially died on 29 March of this year.

The case was brought against Michael Murray of Kells, who served as Deputy Registrar for the town. The case came to light when Mr Gaughran was visited by his life insurance agent in April, and was informed that there was no purpose in continuing to pay his premium of eight shillings as no company would insure him. The reason that no one would insure Gaughran was that there was £7 13 shillings in insurance due to the Gaughran family. Once the matter was investigated it was discovered that Mr Murray had falsified Gaughran’s death certificate, and had then made a claim against the life insurance, he said, on behalf of the family.

In court Mr Gaughran appeared to prove he was not dead, and his wife also appeared to confirm that they had never reported him dead to the Deputy Registrar, and neither had they had any dealings with him in relation to life insurance. The court heard that while Murray had forged a death certificate, he had not entered Gaughran’s name into the register of deaths. The magistrates decided that Murray has a case to answer for forgery and deception, and returned him to stand trial at the next Meath Assizes. His bail was set at £100.

Century Ireland

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