Men go on trial for €2.28m 'tiger' robbery

Two men have gone on trial accused of robbing €2.28m in a tiger kidnapping six years ago in which the family of a cash-in-transit van driver was held hostage by armed men.

Men go on trial for €2.28m 'tiger' robbery

Two men have gone on trial accused of robbing €2.28m in a tiger kidnapping six years ago in which the family of a cash-in-transit van driver was held hostage by armed men.

David Byrne (aged 39), of Old Brazeel Way, Knocksedan, Swords, Co Dublin and Niall Byrne (aged 29), of Crumlin Road Flats, Crumlin Rd, Dublin have both pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to falsely imprisoning the Richardson family at Ashcroft, Raheny, north Dublin city on March 13 and 14, 2005 and one count of robbery.

They have also pleaded not guilty to robbing Paul Richardson and Securicor of €2,280,000 on the same date.

Both men are alleged to have been members of a gang that held Mr Richardson, a Securicor worker, and his family hostage as part of a raid in March 2005.

On the opening day of the trial Marie Richardson told Mr Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting that on the Sunday evening of March 14, 2005 a gang of men burst into her home in Ashcroft, Raheny.

She described how the kidnappers later put her and her two sons, aged 17 and 13 at the time, onto the floor of the back of a van and drove them into a area called Cloon Wood in Co Wicklow where they were held overnight.

She told the court that the gang tied their arms and ankles with cable ties and left them in a woods but they managed to break the ties and raise the alarm.

Opening the State's case Mr McGinn told the jury that it would hear evidence that the two accused played a central role as part of a large team involved in a well planned operation.

He said that while Mrs Richardson and her sons were being held in the mountains, Paul Richardson was told to go to work as normal and collect a van “loaded with cash”.

He was given a Polaroid photograph the raiders had taken of the family flanked by armed men which he was to show to his co-workers to convince them to go along with their robbery plan.

The raiders instructed him to drive the van west out of the city and to drop the cash behind a large industrial container in the car park of the Angler's Rest pub in Lucan.

After dropping off the cash Mr Richardson had been told to then continue driving west out of the city until he received a phone call to say his family had been freed.

When this call never came Mr Richardson because extremely anxious and began to get chest pains.

His colleagues decided then to stop the van and raise the alarm.

Mr McGinn said in the meantime Mr Richardson's family had also raised the alarm after freeing themselves using a penknife belonging to their son.

The €2.28m in cash that had been left in the Angler's Rest car park and was already picked up by the raiders at this stage.

He said a large part of the State's evidence would involve mobile phone records linking the two to other members of the gang who were then linked to the crime by DNA, CCTV footage, clothing and other evidence.

Over 200 witnesses are expected to be called during the trial, which is due to last six to eight weeks.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of seven men and five women.

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