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WARRANT OUT CAB target guilty of starving horses fails to turn up in court as Land Rover is seized

Catherine O’Brien, also known as Katie, is the subject of a live bench warrant following her conviction last year on 35 counts of animal cruelty

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Katie O’Brien convicted of 35 counts of cruelty.

Katie O’Brien convicted of 35 counts of cruelty.

Katie O’Brien convicted of 35 counts of cruelty.

A woman who lost a Criminal Assets Bureau case over using altered cheques to buy a Land Rover is the target of more investigations, the Sunday World can reveal.

Catherine O’Brien, also known as Katie, is the subject of a live bench warrant following her conviction last year on 35 counts of animal cruelty.

She is also a suspect in at least one other alleged fraud case, according to sources, after complaints were made to gardaí.

Last week it emerged the 44-year-old was accused of altering cheques from an agri-business firm, which she then used to fund the purchase of a new Land Rover Discovery.

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Starved horse

Starved horse

Starved horse

She traded that in for a brand-new version in 2015 which was later seized by gardaí investigating her affairs in 2018. The money, which had been in a solicitor’s client account, had been intended for a property transaction by another person that never went ahead.

Last summer a bench warrant was issued for her arrest following her animal cruelty convictions over neglected thoroughbred horses at a stable yard in Co Wexford.

She did not turn up at that hearing in Gorey District Court and did not turn up at last week’s High Court hearing where Judge Alex Owens granted an application by CAB to take ownership of the Land Rover.

Sources say she has not been seen at her last known address in Dungarvan, Co Waterford for months.

The seizure of the half-starved horses in 2019 made headlines because of the number of animals involved at what appeared to be a professional horse-breeding stable.

Last week we revealed how charity the Irish Horse Welfare Trust has to foot the €350,000 cost of looking after 33 horses.

As ownership has not been transferred, they have not been able to re-home the horses.

Judge Owens in his recent judgement said that the claim by her and her uncle that she gave him the vehicle as security for €50,000 was “unlikely.”

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