Two men go on trial over €2.2m tiger kidnap raid
TWO men have gone on trial accused of robbing more than €2.2m in a tiger kidnapping in which the family of a cash-in-transit van driver was held hostage by armed men.
David Byrne (39) and Niall Byrne (29) have both pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to falsely imprisoning the Richardson family at Ashcroft, Raheny, north Dublin, on March 13 and 14, 2005 and one count of robbery.
They have also pleaded not guilty to robbing Paul Richardson and Securicor of €2.28m 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 gave evidence, saying 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, on to 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 the gang tied their arms and ankles with cable ties but they managed to break them and raise the alarm.
Opening the State's case, the prosecution told the jury that it would hear evidence that David Byrne, of Old Brazeel Way, Knocksedan, Swords, Co Dublin, and Niall Byrne, of Crumlin Road in Dublin, played a central role in a large team involved in the operation.
Counsel for the prosecution Dominic McGinn 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 of his family flanked by armed men to show his co-workers and instructed to drop the cash in the car park of the Angler's Rest pub in Chapelizod.
After dropping off the cash Mr Richardson had been told to continue driving west out of the city until he got a phone call to say his family had been freed.
Mr McGinn 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 and clothing.
The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.