Jury retires in trial of Irish businessman accused of having disguised stun gun

The jury has retired to consider its verdict in the trial of an Irish businessman accused of having a “10,000-volt” stun gun disguised as a torch in his house.

Thomas Kavanagh, 51, had already admitted a separate offence of having the stun gun, found during a search of his home by National Crime Agency officers on January 12, jurors heard.

Kavanagh was arrested in the international arrivals’ hall after getting off a plane at Birmingham Airport earlier that same day.

During a 13-hour search, officers discovered the working pink-coloured stun gun which prosecutors said had the appearance of a “Maglite-type” torch, on a shelf above a kitchen cupboard.

The jury of nine women and three men retired on Wednesday to consider the charge.

Opening the case at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Tuesday, prosecuting barrister Simon Davis told jurors Kavanagh accepted “simple possession” of the banned weapon.

But he added the defendant denied a further offence of having a disguised stun gun and that it would be for jurors to decide whether they considered it to be disguised to look like a torch.

Mr Davis said: “We say it is a stun gun, disguised as a torch – it had the appearance of a torch.”

The Crown’s barrister added: “He denies he was in possession of a stun gun disguised as a torch.

“That’s a matter for you, the jury.”

Crown court stock
Crown court stock

Mr Davis said that “two other similar items were found in one of the bedrooms” at the home in Tamworth, Staffordshire – though it was not Kavanagh’s room.

In interview, father-of-six Kavanagh told officers he had taken the stun gun “off one of the kids when they were messing about with it and had thrown it on top of kitchen units”.

Kavanagh, a prestige car dealer, told officers that another family member had brought the stun gun back to the house after buying it while holidaying in “China, Spain or France”.

He said the two other similar and functioning items, recovered from what was described in court by his barrister Alistair Webster QC as a “teenager’s” bedroom, had also been bought in the same way.

When the pink stun gun was sent off for analysis, a scientist concluded its high-voltage discharge was “in the region of 10,000 volts”.

Kavanagh, of Sutton Road, Mile Oak, Tamworth, Staffordshire, denies the charge.

The jury were later sent home for the day and will resume deliberations on Thursday.