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unlawful possession Historic handguns confiscated from intoxicated man in Cork to go to National Museum

The handguns - three Webley revolvers which date back to the late 19th Century - had been earmarked for destruction

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Pictured: A Webley revolver

Pictured: A Webley revolver

Pictured: A Webley revolver

A series of historic handguns confiscated by gardaí from an intoxicated Czech national in Cork will now be given to the National Museum of Ireland.

The handguns - three Webley revolvers which date back to the late 19th Century - had been earmarked for destruction by a Cork court but the order was varied to allow them to go for potential exhibit to the NMI.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court had made the order for the weapons to be destroyed after Czech national Jan Walowy (61) pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Firearms Act, 1964.

Walowy pleaded guilty to three counts of unlawfully possessing three different Webley revolvers at his home in Molaga Street, Clonakilty on January 21 2021.

He also pleaded guilty to a fourth count of possessing twelve rounds of .455 ammunition also at Molaga Street, Clonakilty on the same date.

All the charges were contrary to the Firearms Act, 1964.

The factory worker claimed he found the old revolvers in a sealed container wrapped inside a black plastic bag by the foreshore in Clonakilty when he was out for a walk.

Walowy sends money home to the Czech Republic to one of his two children despite being of extremely limited financial means.

The court was told he has no previous convictions. He has been living for eight years in Ireland and had never before come to Garda attention.

Judge Helen Boyle heard that the revolvers were legally defined as firearms.

One Webley was very badly rusted and beyond use.

However, two of the Webleys were capable of being fired.

Sgt Kevin Long said Walowy had taken the weapons out to show friends when he was under the influence of alcohol.

There was no evidence of any of the revolvers ever being fired.

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When gardai arrived at the scene, Walowy told them to check the liquid in a bottle because he feared he was being poisoned.

The defendant was found to be in a very paranoid state.

When later checked, the liquid was not found to be suspicious.

Judge Boyle imposed a three year suspended sentence in the case.

She granted a destruction order for the weapons.

However, State counsel Brendan Kelly BL asked that the weapons instead go to the National Museum of Ireland after they expressed interest in having them in their possession.

The weapons may be restored and potentially put on future exhibit.

Webley's revolver was, in its various designs, the standard issue service revolver for the British Army and Crown forces worldwide.

When Ireland erupted in rebellion, a special short-barrel version of the Webley revolver - named the Royal Irish Constabulary revolver - was designed and issued.

Feared British units such as the Black & Tans and Auxiliaries were widely issued with Webley revolvers.

The various revolver designs armed British forces through the Boer War, World War I and World War II.

However, they were dropped in favour of automatic handguns from the 1960s which were lighter, boasted a higher rate of fire and larger capacity magazines.

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