Security Expert Admits Having Illegal Guns

6 July 2015, 16:33

A security expert once hired by royalty is behind bars after being caught with an illegal firearm haul at his home.

William Cavanagh was arrested in July 2014 after police discovered the stash - including parts to build a deadly AK-47 rifle.

A probe was launched after The UK Border Force intercepted a package for Cavanagh sent from a major American gun firm.

During his work in the Middle East, the 47 year-old offered top-level security advice to the Royal Family of Oman on keeping buildings safe from the threat of attack.

A judge heard how he returned to Scotland to set-up a "laboratory" to carry out tests on how to improve structures from blasts.

This involved him sourcing weapon parts - but Cavanagh did not have a gun licence.

Cavanagh was remanded in custody at the High Court in Glasgow after he pleaded guilty to 15 firearms charges.

The trained engineer looked ashen faced as he was led handcuffed to the cells. His wife left the courtroom in tears.

Cavanagh is due to learn his fate next month when his lawyer will argue there are "exceptional circumstances" to avoid a mandatory five year jail term.

Cavanagh headed a security based firm called Lynx Development Systems.

In June 2014, the UK Border Force intercepted a package addressed to Cavanagh's home in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, from the world's largest suppliers of firearms accessories.

It was also discovered days later that another parcel from America had been delivered.

Police found Cavanagh did not have a firearms licence, so the home he shared with his wife was raided in July last year.

Detectives seized a large haul of gun components including for an AK-47 rifle. Also found was a pistol - dating back to the 1800s - as well as an air cartridge revolver.

The court heard that an expert who examined the stash was of the view Cavanagh was "attempting to build a gun".

Prosecutor Stewart Ronnie said: "The nature of his employment sees him work extensively in the Middle East.

"If his client base is in Syria etc then the typical weapon of choicewould be an AK-47."

His lawyer told the court how Cavanagh had spent the last number of years working abroad including in Iraq.

Graham Robertson, defending, went on: "His contribution is one of technical expertise invited by various companies and members of certain royal families to render professional assistance."

Sourcesclose to the case confirmed the Royal Family of Oman had previously sought Cavanagh's advice.

Mr Robertson told the court Cavanagh's "motive" on returning to the UK was to set-up "a laboratory" to "test ideas" on keeping buildings safe from gun attacks.

The advocate added Cavanagh had previously met with a senior firearms officer to discuss this idea.

Mr Robertson said he did not accept any "inference" that the security expert was trying to build a gun to supply abroad.

Judge Lord Burns deferred sentencing until August 11 in Aberdeen.

Remanding Cavanagh, he told him: "I do not think it appropriate to continue bail."