Car linked to alleged tiger kidnapper spotted by gardaí near scene of crime, court hears

Car linked to alleged tiger kidnapper spotted by gardaí near scene of crime, court hears
Jonathan Gill

A car linked to an alleged tiger kidnapper was spotted by gardaí near the scene of the crime shortly beforehand, a trial has heard.

Jonathan Gill (35) is accused of a kidnapping a Drogheda postal worker, his partner and their 10-week-old baby daughter before robbing over €600,000 from the man's workplace.

It is the state's case that Mr Gill was one of a group of five who together were involved in holding the family hostage in their own home before moving them to a shed about a 90-minute drive away.

Mr Gill of Malahide Road, Swords, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to falsely imprisoning Warren Nawn, Jean Marie Nawn and their ten-week-old baby in Drogheda between August 1 and August 2, 2011.

Today the jury heard details of the garda Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system which picked up a car linked to Mr Gill at 6pm on the N51 road, north of Drogheda on August 1, 2011.

The supervisor of the ANPR system, Garda Mark Murphy, told Lorcan Staines BL, prosecuting, it consists of three cameras fitted to garda patrol cars which can detect licence plate numbers of passing vehicles.

These numbers are then compared to several databases and the garda Pulse system and a warning is displayed on patrol car's computer screen if the car is of interest. Gda Murphy said a car could be of interest if it was suspected of involvement in a crime or if did not have valid insurance or a valid NCT.

All registration numbers as well as the GPS location and time they were recorded at are then uploaded via a secure connection to Garda Headquarters where they are kept for a year before being automatically destroyed. Numbers that register “a hit” can be kept indefinitely.

Several garda witnesses gave evidence that in the aftermath of the kidnapping, detectives sent two registration numbers to the ANPR division so they could be checked against recorded licence plates in the Drogheda area on August 1st.

A match was found for an silver Renault Clio with registration 06d10959 which was recorded by an ANPR car on the N51 north of Drogheda. This car did not generate a warning when it was picked up by the cameras.

Sgt Keith Heffernan of Clontarf Garda Station gave evidence that four months previously in April 2011 Mr Gill came to the station to present his driving licence and insurance after being stopped by a garda two days before.

The accused filled out a form stating he had produced his licence. In the part of the form requiring the car registration number he wrote 06d1095, the garda said.

The trial continues before Judge Elma Sheahan and a jury of seven men and five women.

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