'Tiger kidnapping' accused was offered place in witness protection programme

Gardaí investigating a €2.28m "tiger kidnapping" offered a place on the witness protection programme to one of the two men now accused of taking part in the robbery.

Gardaí investigating a €2.28m "tiger kidnapping" offered a place on the witness protection programme to one of the two men now accused of taking part in the robbery, it has emerged today.

David Byrne (aged 39), of Old Brazeel Way, Knocksedan, Swords, and Niall Byrne (aged 29), of Crumlin Road Flats, Crumlin Road are alleged to have been members of a gang that held Paul Richardson, a Securicor worker, and his family hostage as part of a raid in March 2005.

Both men have both pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to falsely imprisoning the Richardson family at Ashcroft, Raheny on March 13 and 14, 2005 and to robbing Paul Richardson and Securicor of €2.28m on the same date.

A number of gardaí investigating the raid gave evidence of arresting and interviewing Niall Byrne in April 2005.

Mr Feargal Kavanagh SC, defending Niall Byrne, asked Detective Garda Malachy Dunne if he had invited Mr Byrne to come onto the witness protection programme.

Det Gda Dunne replied: “It would have come up in the course of one of the interviews.”

He agreed that Mr Byrne didn’t take up the offer and that he told Gardaí that he had nothing to do with the abductions and robbery.

Garda Superintendent Angela Willis told Mr Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, she found €2,750 in cash in a bedroom during a search of Niall Byrne’s home in Drimnagh in April 2005.

She said also found airline tickets to Lanzarote and these, along with the cash, were seized.

The court heard that the flights were booked on the previous Valentines day and that Gardaí returned the tickets at a later date.

Detective Garda Patrick Flood agreed with Mr Kavanagh that a man called Christy Corcoran has already been convicted for his part in the raid and that he was outside the Securicor depot in Rialto on the day of the robbery.

Det Gda Flood added: “I suspected Niall Byrne played a part in this crime”.

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

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