Wednesday 24 May 2017

Banker's wife left 'traumatised' by tiger kidnappers

Hooded victim was gagged and bound

Shane Phelan and Michael McHale

A BANKER's wife was kidnapped yesterday after a tiger raider gained access to her home by posing as a meter reader.

The raider put a bag over the head of Maeve McGann and with the help of an accomplice bundled her into a car outside her home in north County Dublin.

They then forced her to phone her husband, bank worker Gerry, and demanded over €100,000 in cash in return for her safe release.

However, the raiders freed their victim five hours later in County Louth and fled empty-handed. Gardai said she was not physically harmed, but was deeply traumatised following her ordeal.

It is thought the raiders abandoned their plan after becoming spooked when their demands weren't immediately met.

Gerry and Maeve McGann are in their mid 50s, and have a number of grown-up children.

Mr McGann had already left for work at the Raheny branch of Bank of Ireland when the raiders kidnapped Ms McGann from their home at Hacketstown Park, in Skerries, at around 8.20am.

One of the men posed as a meter reader by wearing a high visibility jacket and carrying a clipboard.

Ms McGann's hands were bound and tape was placed over her mouth after the ransom call was made. Gardai became aware of the kidnapping over the course of the morning.

Several units were mobilised in response, including local gardai and officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Organised Crime Unit and the Special Detective Unit.

But by 1pm Ms McGann had been released at Sheepgrange on the Slane Road, in Drogheda, and the gang had fled.

A silver Ford Focus hatchback car used in the raid was later found burned out at the back entrance to a quarry at Mullachrone, Donore, Co Louth.

The car had been stolen and fitted with false number plates.

Although two men kidnapped the victim, gardai believe more may have been involved in the planning and getaway aspects of the operation.

Both raiders are thought to be in their 20s and spoke with strong Dublin accents.

Planning

Gardai believe a considerable amount of planning went into the operation and have appealed for anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the Hacketstown area or close to the bank in Raheny in recent days to come forward.

In particular they would like to speak to anyone who saw a car parked near the McGann's home on the evening of Monday, April 12.

"Both the bank official and his wife have been through a traumatic experience," a garda spokesman said. Gardai said the suspects did not produce any firearms or weapons during the kidnap.

An incident room has been set up at Balbriggan Garda Station.

The bank official's home was sealed off for most of the evening for technical examination.

Neighbours who gathered close to the scene spoke of their shock last night.

"They are the kindest couple you could ever meet," one woman told the Irish Independent.

Another neighbour said Ms McGann was well known and liked in the area from her involvement in the local tidy towns committee.

"We're all shocked and can't believe it. It must have been terrible for the poor woman, God love her. She was in the house on her own when it happened," she said. "The first we knew anything was wrong was when we came home from work and saw the garda cars."

Irish Independent

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