A CO Limerick couple yesterday spoke of their terror tiger kidnapping at the hands of an armed gang who threatened and assaulted them.
James and Lelia Beechinor, who own the Xpress Stop Service Station in Kilmallock, were held hostage by four masked men who threatened them with a shotgun, a handgun and a knife.
After breaking into their private home at Sheerin’s Cross on Sunday night the gang threatened the couple when they could not find any money.
When the gang could not find any money, they kept Lelia Beechinor hostage in the kitchen as two of them forced Mr Beechinor to drive his jeep to the filling station at gunpoint.
Mr Beechinor said: “They said if there was any mistakes, one phone call and they would kill her, kill me and get away. The fellow with the gun got in behind me in the back (of the jeep). He had the gun laid up on my shoulder — right up on my ear — and the other fella, in the passenger seat, had the knife to my side.”
On getting to the filling station, Mr Beechinor was ordered to empty the safe.
He was forced to lock up the shop and drive the gang members back to his house.
While Mr Beechinor was taken away the other gang members tied Ms Beechinor’s hands and legs and gagged her.
After Mr Beechinor was brought back at gunpoint he also was tied up and the gang made off in his jeep.
Mr Beechinor tore skin from his wrists as he tried to free himself and his wife.
He said: “You would be surprised the pain you would endure when you are thrown down on the ground and tied knowing that no one is going to get to you for at least seven or eight hours.”
Gardaí have mounted a major investigation to track down the kidnappers.
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