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James Anthony Cunneen hit with more jail time over secret stash of weapons in Scone storage shed

MISSED: James Anthony Cunneen stands accused of Carly McBride’s murder. He has received more jail time over unrelated firearm offences. ONE of the men accused of killing Lake Macquarie’s Carly McBride has been hit with more jail time over a cache of weapons kept hidden from police.
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James Anthony Cunneen, 27, was already serving a stint behind bars after raids on a Scone storage facility in 2015 revealed a large number of weapons, ammunition and methamphetamine hidden in two sheds.

But what police didn’t know at the time was there was a third shed in the same complex connected to Cunneen.

Another raid in 2016 would reveal four firearms, one replica firearm, 400 rounds of ammunition and two ninja star knives. Other items such as a throwing knife, hunting knives and a hand dagger were also seized.

According to agreed facts tendered to Newcastle District Court, Cunneen’s name was not on the lease as it was instead signed over to another man who made regular monthly payments on the shed in exchange for drugs.

After the first raid, the facts state the man“become worried” the shed leased under his name was being used for illegal activity. He ended his agreement with Cunneen.

The Muswellbrook man was able to strike another deal with another party but Hunter Valley detectives ultimately traced the shed back to Cunneen. Had the new stash weapons not been found the court heard Cunneen would have been eligible for release this year.

“There was one gate and one padlock between this cache of weapons and the community,” DPP solicitor Kristy Mulley said. “We know now he was harbouring these weapons. They would have been available to him in July when he was released from prison.”

Cunneen’s mother testified that she had noticed her son had “turned a new leaf”, was more “insightful” and “hurt” to see the impacts the charges had on his family.

However, Ms Mulley said the likelihood of Cunneen’s rehabilitation was “hard to ascertain based on the remarks of his mother”.

Cunneen, who was represented by solicitor Chris O’Brien, appeared via audiovisual link from Macquarie Correctional Centre.

He barely spoke.

Judge Roy Ellis said the fact Cunneen remained silent about the third shed “raises some questions as to what this man intended to do in July this year”.

“The reality is these weapons would have been available to him when he’s released,” he said.

Cunneen was sentenced to a maximumfive years and three months’ jail, givinghim a total effective sentence of eight years when the original sentence is taken into account.

In 2015, Strike Force Karabi detectives stressed the weapons charges did not relate to Ms McBride’s murder but did arise from the same investigation.

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