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Saturday 30 August 2014

I cried so much I couldn’t drive cash van, tiger kidnap victim tells court

Published 10/10/2013 | 17:42

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Paul Richardson leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday
Paul Richardson leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday

A Securicor cash van driver couldn’t drive at one point during a tiger kidnap ordeal because he was crying so much, a court has been told.

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Paul Richardson, whose family were held at gunpoint during the raid, gave evidence that one raider earlier told him: “If I f**ked up in any way, he wouldn't be responsible for my family”.

Jason Kavanagh (39), of Corduff Avenue, Blanchardstown, Christopher Corcoran (66), of Bayside Boulevard North, Sutton, Mark Farrelly (42), of Moatview Court, Priorswood, Coolock, and Alan Costello (50), of Cromcastle Road, Coolock, are accused of being part of the armed gang.

The four men have pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to falsely imprisoning Paul, Marie, Ian and Kevin Richardson on the night of March 13 and 14, 2005.  The four accused have also denied the robbery of €2.28 million in cash from Paul Richardson and Securicor Security Services Ireland Ltd on March 14, 2005.

During the ordeal, the raiders ordered Mr Richardson to then drive out along the N4 motorway with a van full of cash and they would contact him on a “walkie talkie” to let him know his family were safe and free.

Mr Richardson told Mr McGinn that he complied with all the gang's instructions for the sake of his family but that this call never came.

He said he was very upset, adding “I was driving very slowly. I could hardly see the road because of  the tears in my eyes.”

He told the court that he refused requests by the other crew members to pull over and told them: “We have to keep going. We might see them (his family) standing on the side of the road”.

He eventually stopped the van and the alarm was raised. He said he felt faint and sick. When word reached the van that his family were safe he collapsed.

He said: “There were so many tears in my eyes I couldn’t see the road properly.

“I became very unwell with pains in my chest. I stopped the van. I couldn’t go any further.”

Earlier, Mr Richardson's wife Marie told Seamus Clarke BL, prosecuting, that when she opened the door of her home that night a man wearing a boiler suit pushed inside and grabbed her in a headlock. She said she tried to scream and saw other men going into the living room.

They then took a machine gun and handgun out of a box and searched the house. She said her husband arrived home with their older son Ian a little later.

The court heard that Ian had a panic attack and the raiders said “get him to shut up”. The raiders later took a Polaroid photograph of the family flanked by the two armed men, she said.

They then drove her and her sons in a four-wheel drive to the Dublin mountains where they were held overnight.

She said that at around 2.30am the front seat passenger in the vehicle, gave a mobile phone to Mrs Richardson and she spoke to her husband for about two minutes.

The driver told her that after they got a phonecall they would tie her and her sons up and leave them. She said later the passenger called the driver “Alan”.

She said the next morning the gang members tied her and her sons up using cable ties around their ankles and arms and left. She said her son used a knife on a keyring to cut the cable ties and free themselves.

Mr Richardson explained to Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that after breaking in the raiders held him at the family home until the following morning when he was told to go to work.

He said he was told to load the van with cash for ATMs as normal and then drive the van to a car park at the Angler's Rest pub near Chapelizod and leave the cash there in white bin bags.

Mr Richardson said when the raider with the handgun gave him instructions he displayed a knowledge of Securicor's security systems. He said this raider knew about a “10/11” check call used by cash van crews leaving the Securicor depot.

He said that one raider told him that the house of his co-worker Sean Kelleher was being watched.

While he drove to work the next morning Mr Richardson noticed a man on a black motorcycle that sped off when he came up to it.

He described receiving a phone-call from a man with a Northern Ireland accent telling him: “Nothing will happen to your family if everything goes ok, just like the Northern job.”

The court that Mr Richardson had pulled the van over on the N4 near Kinnegad and at this point his colleagues insisted on raising the alarm.

Richard Lynch, a consultant in emergency medicine with the Midlands Regional Hospital gave evidence of treating Mr Richardson and said he was in “a state of severe shock”.

Mr Lynch said he diagnosed Mr Richardson as suffering an “acute stress reaction”

The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury of nine men and three women.

By Declan Brennan

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