Two Wexford men guilty over will forgery

Wednesday 30 January 2013 12.09
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Noel Hayes had denied forging the will of farmer Matthew Hayes
Noel Hayes had denied forging the will of farmer Matthew Hayes
William O'Leary was remanded on bail until sentencing on 25 February
William O'Leary was remanded on bail until sentencing on 25 February
Charlie O'Leary pleaded guilty in 2009 of being involved in the forgery
Charlie O'Leary pleaded guilty in 2009 of being involved in the forgery

Two Co Wexford men have been found guilty of forging the will of a dead farmer.

William O'Leary, 49, from Arthurstown and businessman Noel Hayes, 59, from Ramsgrange had denied forging the will of bachelor farmer Matthew Hayes.

Mr Hayes died in hospital aged 82 on Christmas Day 1998.

A third man, Charlie O'Leary, pleaded guilty in 2009 of being involved in the forgery and was given a suspended sentence.

Charlie O'Leary testified against his brother Willie and former best friend Noel Hayes.

Judge Raymond Fullam ordered William O'Leary not to contact his brother and he remanded O'Leary and Hayes on bail while adjourning sentencing until 25 February.

He ordered the men not to apply for new passports, to sign-on three times weekly at New Ross Garda Station and not to interfere with or contact in any way Charles O'Leary or his wife and family.

During the trial, Charles O'Leary gave evidence against the two men after admitting his part in the forgery some years ago, stating all three were involved in forging a will in the name of Matthew Hayes.

He confessed he had received IR£12,500 for his part of the forgery, but claimed it was "dirty money" and said he gave it away.

In a document purporting to be Mr Hayes' final will and testament, his estate of 162 acres and monies in various accounts were left to his distant relation, Noel Hayes.

Evidence was given in court that Charlie and Willie O'Leary fought for years like "dogs and cats".

They had both been involved in transport company O'Leary International, but relations had soured and Charlie received a €3.2m pay-off after leaving the firm.

The court also heard that Willie O'Leary was illiterate and had been sent to an industrial school as a teenager, but he later built up a successful logistics company.

Charlie O'Leary had also been a director of South East Vegetables with Noel Hayes and others, but problems arose in April 2006 and he left the company.