Jury told accused handled money in ‘unorthodox’ ways

Circumstantial evidence in the money-laundering trial will include ‘unorthodox’ ways in which the accused, Timothy Cunningham allegedly handled money, including his arrival at the home of a jewellers with over £200,000 (€244,000) in Northern Irish sterling in Tesco bags, which the jeweller hid under his parents’ bed.

 Timothy Cunningham: Has pleaded not guilty.

This allegation was not put in evidence but the prosecution said the jury would hear witnesses allege it to them in the course of the trial.

Tom O’Connell, prosecuting, described as unorthodox the way in which Timothy Cunningham, 65, of Woodbine Lodge, Farran, Co Cork, allegedly carried large sums of money in plastic shopping bags.

Mr O’Connell said Mr Cunningham was friendly with the Douglas family, jewellers in Tullamore, and he called to them in the days before the bank robbery carrying a Tesco bag containing £50,000, that he said was from a property transaction in Dundalk.

Mr O’Connell said John Douglas agreed to mind it for him and apparently put it under his parents’ bed.

“Mr Cunningham told him there was more sterling going to come… Mr Cunningham arrived at the jewellery shop in Tullamore [approximately a month after the robbery] carrying two bags with £50,000 in Northern sterling in each of the bags.

“He asked John Douglas to store this money for him. Again, this money was put under the bed on the premises.

“In early February, Mr Cunningham arrives yet again at the jewellery store in Tullamore bearing two plastic bags containing £50,000, each in Northern issue sterling, and again asked to mind it and again he [John Douglas] obliges by again putting it under a bed.”

The gardaí visited the jewellers on February 20, 2005, where they were shown the five bags, one allegedly delivered before the robbery, and four allegedly delivered on two dates after the robbery. “£200,100 was referable to deliveries after the robbery,” Mr O’Connell said.

Details of the undisputed robbery itself were given yesterday. An armed gang arrived at the home of the assistant manager of the Northern Bank cash centre on a Sunday night, bound, gagged and blindfolded his wife and removed her on a threat that she would be shot if her husband did not follow orders the next morning.

Assistant manager of the bank at Donegall Square, Belfast, Kevin McMullan, testified yesterday he was then forced to go to his workplace the following morning, on December 20, 2004, and carry out instructions. His wife was later released in a forest.

Mr O’Connell said that the jury would be concerned with over £600,000 Northern Ireland sterling £20 notes that ended up in Cork.

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