Security guard targeted by tiger gang gets €25,000 payout
A SECURITY van driver who claimed he suffered post-traumatic stress after a tiger kidnapping has been awarded €25,000 in damages.
James Eakins (62), of Greenhills, Dublin 24, also claimed he suffers from depression arising out of the incident in which he and his van crew were asked to hand more than €1m to a work colleague whose wife was the victim of the kidnapping.
Yesterday, the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, held that Mr Eakins was entitled to €25,000 in damages as a result of the incident in Carlow in January 2007, when he was working for Securicor Security Services Ltd.
The judge said Securicor had provided inadequate duty of care to Mr Eakins because of the regularity of the deliveries it made in Carlow.
Such deliveries, the judge said, were the first stop on Monday mornings after using the same route from Dublin. There should have been variations made in order to help deter criminals, he said.
This was also at the same time when the company, in light of a tiger-style kidnapping of one its employees in 2005, had been advising its workers to change the routes and times when they were going to work.
However, the judge added that criticisms of Securicor's training and steps it took to improve the security of its workers were "very much wide of the mark". The judge said it was a "very distressing case" and also said those working in security, bank staff and members of the public "can be exposed to the horror of tiger kidnappings".
He paid tribute to the courage Mr Eakins displayed during the course of the robbery. However, the judge said, no matter what training one does, nothing could prepare somebody for what happens in such a situation.
Mr Eakins claimed he suffered psychiatric illness following the robbery and Securicor failed to provide him a safe working environment, a safe system of work, a safe place to work, and had no regard for his health and safety while he was carrying out his duty.
He claimed that he was exposed to unnecessary risk of personal injury and psychological harm, and had not received adequate training. The defendants rejected the claims.
During the delivery to the ATM he was approached by a work colleague, Bernard Hogan, whose wife Ailish had been kidnapped from the couple's home the previous night.
Money was then taken from the van and placed in a car, which was driven from the scene. More than €1m was obtained by the gang. At the time the van contained €2.5m.
The court heard that measures were taken to improve security of the company's workers following the kidnappings.