'email@example.com' guilty of murder conspiracy
In Ireland this crime is unique but I am willing to bet that anyone anywhere would consider it to be very unusual.
It would make a great film script.
The jury in the Ennis murder conspiracy trial has returned a verdict on some of the charges.
Sharon Collins, who had denied she was 'lyingeyes98', has been found guilty of conspiracy to murder her partner and his two sons.
She has also been convicted of soliciting an Egyptian poker dealer to murder her partner and his two sons.
The jury could not agree a verdict on conspiracy charges against Essam Eid.
Collins of Kildysart road, Ennis, Co Clare, and Eid from Las Vegas had denied three charges of conspiracy to murder.
Eid has been convicted of extortion and handling stolen goods after he demanded €100,000 from PJ Howards's son, Robert, to cancel the contract.
He was remanded in custody and a date for sentence will be set in October.
Collins was comforted by family members as the jury of eight men and four women found her guilty on the first charge.
The seven-week trial heard how she searched the Internet for a contract killer and paid a €15,000 deposit to have her partner and his sons murdered.
The jury found Eid guilty of demanding money with menace from Robert Howard and of handling stolen goods.
During the trial, the 45-year-old Ennis woman told the court she was not 'lyingeyes98' - the name of the email account used to hire a hitman.
Reacting to the verdict, PJ Howard and sons Robert and Niall say they are relieved the trial has come to a conclusion and are prepared to get on with their lives.
By Abigail Rieley
Saturday June 14 2008
An Irish soldier contacted a website advertising contract killings because he thought it was a joke, the Central Criminal Court has heard.
Private Brian Buckley told the court he found the site Hireahitman.us while searching for cheat codes for the Hitman computer game.
Sharon Collins (45), of Ballybeg House, Kildysart Road, Ennis, Co Clare, and Essam Eid (52), an Egyptian man with an address in Las Vegas, have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to kill PJ, Robert and Niall Howard, between August 1 and September 26, 2006.
Ms Collins also denies hiring Mr Eid to shoot the three men.
Mr Eid denies demanding €100,000 from Robert Howard to cancel the contracts. He also denies breaking into the Howard family business at Westgate Business Park and stealing two computers, some computer cables, a digital clock and a poster of old Irish money and then handling the stolen items.
Pvt Buckley said the website was top of the list of Google search results so he assumed it was the site he was looking for.
The homepage of the site made him think it was an internet prank.
Pvt Buckley came to a kind of application form. "Out of my own curiosity, or my own stupidity, I decided to fill out the form."
Using the email address Judas69@gmail.com he filled out the form, giving a false telephone number and a false name, Will Buckimer.
He made first contact with the website on July 29, 2006, and received a reply from a Tony Luciano on August 10.
The reply read: "I have a job for you if you are interested. Two males in Ireland and one in Spain. ASAP. Let us know. We will try and call you. Thanks. Tony Luciano."
On August 28, he received another email from Tony Luciano. "Please help us out for this. I need some strong poison. One of us will be in Shannon. We cannot shift this stuff for security reasons -- you know that -- so please help us out. Will pay and I will owe you favourite. Thanks brother. Tony." Pvt Buckley said that this email made him feel uneasy and he decided to distance himself. He received several emails from the man calling himself Tony Luciano but would not talk to him and kept telling he had the wrong number.
The court also heard from Detective Sgt Michael Gubbins who forensically examined an Advent computer stolen from the office of Howards' business.
He found certain files corresponding to keywords relating to the case. These files related to the email address Lyingeyes98@yahoo.ie and showed an increasingly flirtatious correspondence between Lyingeyes98 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Det Sgt Gubbins said a file showing the inbox of Lyingeyes98 showed a welcome email from Yahoo dated August 2, 2006.
Also on August 2, an email had been sent from email@example.com.
On August 3, a file cached from the website Hitmanforhire.us showed a form filled out. The name was given as Sn Cronin with an email address at Lyingeyes98. Whoever filled the form in said they wanted to "make money doing something useful".
Successive emails between B Lyons, at Lyingeyes, some of which were signed Sharon, and Tony Luciano, at hire_hitman, were found.
On August 14, an email from Tony Luciano asks B Lyons to send money to T Engle at 6108 Camden Cove Street, Mr Eid's Las Vegas address.
The email gave bank details for an account in the name Essam Eid.
Several photographs in the computer's memory. There were photographs of PJ, Robert and Niall Howard ,as well as Sharon Collins. The trial will continue on Monday.
- Abigail Rieley