Widow’s godson pleads guilty to conspiracy in £1.5 million Will forgery case

October 6, 2014

The godson of the late Catherine “Kitty” Haughey has pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to use a false document during a long running criminal fraud case which involved the forging of his late godmother’s Will, which left a £1.5 million fortune.

Francis Tiernan (53) of Carrickasticken Road, Forkhill entered his guilty plea in Newry Crown Court last week, paving the way for reporting restrictions to be lifted on the long running criminal fraud case centred around the forgery of the Will of Catherine “Kitty” Haughey, the proprietor of Larkin’s Slieve Gullion Inn (Annie’s) in Forkhill.

Ms Haughey was found dead in the living quarters of her pub in December 2004.  Concerns were raised about her Will after it came to light it had been changed a fortnight before she died.  The body of the childless widow was exhumed in 2007 amid suspicions surrounding her death but a post-mortem examination later confirmed she died of natural causes.

Two other co-accused, former Tyrone GAA doctor, Seamus Cassidy (62), who had a GP practice in Dundalk, and David McQuaid (38), a quantity surveyor from Lisnaree Road, Banbridge were also found guilty of two counts of conspiracy in connection with the will of the Forkhill widow and received suspended prison sentences.

Whilst the men’s sentences were handed down in May and June of this year, it could not be reported on until reporting restrictions were lifted last week.

A fourth accused, Dr Cassidy’s secretary Niamh Hearty, was unanimously found not guilty of forging the widow’s signature.

Kitty Haughey’s forged, handwritten last will attempted to redirect her fortune from charitable organisations and a female friend called Alice Quinn to persons “in the business of becoming millionaires.”

The Newry court heard that Ms Haughey was the target of a “Hollywood scripted” conspiracy, which was discovered after Ms Quinn brought her suspicions of Kitty’s falsified signatures on a forged will to the Garda in the Republic.

The Garda investigation uncovered a falsified patient file at the GP surgery of Dr Cassidy which was produced at the behest of a letter said to be from a Dundalk solicitors. The details of the GP’s letter were constructed to read that an examination of Ms Haughey had been done by a now deceased doctor shortly before the publican’s death and the diagnosis was to say that Ms Haughey had been a healthy woman right up to her death. The letter was declared to be false in its entirety in 2008 and only a photocopy of it survived.

Francis Tiernan’s defence barrister Dermot Fee told the court that his client was now pleading guilty to two charges of conspiracy to use a false document and added that his client accepted full responsibility for the conspiracy charges brought against him.

A medical report is now being prepared by the defence on Tiernan’s health issues. He will be sentenced later this month.