Security driver tells court of family kidnapping ordeal

The Securicor driver used in a €2.28m robbery four years ago has revealed his armed captors knew the company’s security features and call codes.

Mr Paul Richardson described how one of the raiders who had burst into his Raheny home with guns and taken his family captive, said to him in private: "You give a 10/11"

Mr Richardson explained to prosecution counsel, Mr Dominic McGinn BL in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, that a 10/11 is a Securicor call code to let the control centre know that all crew, walkie-talkies and the "smokie", or cash-box, are in the van before starts its ATM rounds.

He said the "smokie" refers to a security device inside the cash box, which explodes in smoke when the box is moved a certain distance from the van or crew and soils the money with coloured ink.

Mr Richardson said the raider also knew about the Securicor vans’ "buster-buttons", or panic buttons; his usual crew members, the registration of the van he normally drove and the route he had taken with it the previous day at work.

The raider told him: "You’re going to do a job for us, you’re going to get the key", before he was returned to the living room and made sit on a two-seater couch with his family while the raider took a Polaroid snapshot of two colleagues pointing guns at their heads.

Mr Richardson said the raider took a photo of him on his own once his wife and two children had been dispatched to Cloon Wood near the Wicklow Mountains in the back of a stolen Jeep.

David Byrne (aged 36) of Old Brazeel Way, Knocksedan, Swords; Niall Byrne (aged 27), of Aughavanagh Road, Crumlin; Mark Farrelly (aged 37), of Moatview Court, Priorswood; Christopher Corcoran (aged 61), of Bayside Boulevard North, Sutton; and Jason Kavanagh (aged 34), of Parslickstown Court, Ladyswell have all pleaded not guilty to falsely imprisoning the Richardson family on March 13 and 14, 2005.

They have also pleaded not guilty to robbing Mr Richardson and Securicor on the same date.

Mr Richardson told Mr McGinn he presumed the raiders packed the two photos into his lunchbox with a mobile phone and trip sheet detailing the scheduled stops, keys and number of money bags, to show to his van crew when he got to work.

He said the first raider guarded him in the living room all night with a "fat" man carrying a machine gun and instructed him to pick up his friend on the way to work as usual, to act normally and keep calm, to tell his van passenger to turn off his phone and not to alert the gardai during the operation.

The raider warned that his "boss wouldn’t like it" if any of his armed colleagues got hurt.

Mr Richardson added that the raiders, who he believed had tuned into garda radio frequencies using a scanner, told him he had been one of six people targeted in their operation but that he "drew the short straw".

They threatened him, saying: "If you want to see your family again, you’ll do what we want you to do."

Mr Richardson said he clocked in at for work around 6.55am on March 14, 2005, after leaving his home with a warning that the raiders would be watching his progress.

He got his Securicor van ahead in the queue for the money loading bay and answered the phone in his lunchbox to a man with a Northern accent.

The man wanted to know how long it would take him to get to the hangar and to hurry up.

Mr Richardson said he asked his colleague, Mr Sean Kelleher, to turn off his mobile phone as he was getting into the van at the hangar, and showed him the Polaroids of his family at gunpoint.

He said he put the money fed by the third crew member through the swivel door system, or drum, on the van, into white bin liners instead of secure lockers as instructed by the raiders.

He got another call from the same man asking what was keeping him and he answered that he was going as fast as he could.

The third crew member, Mr Paddy O’Callaghan, got into the van after smoking a cigarette and was also shown the photos before they all set out from Securicor towards Mullingar House pub as instructed by the man on the phone.

Mr Richardson told Mr McGinn that the van drove past a garda checkpoint near the pub, but otherwise traffic was light towards The Angler’s Rest pub destination outside Lucan.

He said the "Northern Irish" man had originally instructed him over the phone to drive into the pub’s car park and hand the money to two waiting raiders, but then told him to deposit the money bags behind a red container.

Mr Richardson unloaded the cash during his last conversation with the man and asked him twice about his family.

The man eventually answered: "I have a Securicor WT (walkie-talkie) and I will let you know where to go to meet your family."

Mr Richardson said the man had used his company’s terminology for the walkie-talkie and that he expected this man to contact him if he stayed within range.

He put the mobile phone, photos and trip sheet into the lunch box and left it with the deposited cash, before driving west to give the raiders their demanded 50 minutes window to pick up the money.

He said Mr O’Callaghan told Securicor’s control centre that the crew were at The Square, Tallaght when officers contacted the van shortly after the drop-off.

He said he drove the van slowly at first to stay within the walkie-talkie range but was forced to speed up by impatient motorists travelling behind and eventually came to a stop outside Kinnegad, Co Meath because he could not see through his tears.

Mr Richardson said he had pains in his chest and thought he would never see his family again because the raider hadn’t contacted him and the line had rung out when Mr O’Callaghan rang his house using his mobile phone.

He said Mr O’Callaghan ran to the back of the van and pressed the panic button, once they’d stopped.

The trial, which is expected to last three months, continues before Judge Tony Hunt and a jury of seven men and five women.

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