Wednesday 23 January 2019

Men captured on CCTV wearing 'similar clothing' to raiders, kidnap trial told

Paul and Marie Richardson
Paul and Marie Richardson

Isabel Hayes

Two men captured on CCTV footage at a service station on the night of a €2.28 million cash-in-transit van robbery were wearing “similar clothing” to two of the raiders, a trial has heard.

On the fourth day of the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial today, the court was shown CCTV footage of two men entering a service station and buying something on the night of the kidnapping.

Kevin Richardson, who was aged 13 at the time, told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that both men were wearing “similar clothing” to the two men who took them to the mountains in the jeep.

Mark Farrelly (46), Christopher Corcoran (70), David Byrne (45) and Niall Byrne (36) have all pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the false imprisonment of four members of the Richardson family at their home at Ashcroft, Raheny, Dublin, on March 13 and 14, 2005.

Mr Farrelly of Moatview Court, Priorswood, Coolock, Mr Corcoran of Rosedale, Raheny, Dublin, David Byrne of Old Brazil Way, Knocksedan, Swords, and Niall Byrne of Crumlin Road Flats, Dublin, also pleaded not guilty to robbing Paul Richardson and Securicor of €2.28 million on March 14, 2005.

The jury has heard this is the fifth time the matter has gone on trial.

The trial has heard Paul Richardson, his wife Marie and sons Ian (then aged 17) and Kevin (then aged 13) were confronted by armed raiders in their home at around 10pm on the evening in question.

Ms Richardson and the boys were then driven to the Dublin/Wicklow mountains in a jeep and held overnight, while Mr Richardson, a Securicor cash-in-transit van driver, was forced to get the cash the following morning.

Ms Richardson and the boys were bound with cable ties, but managed to release themselves and walked down a woodland path, where they flagged down a passing park ranger, the court has heard.

Under questioning from Mr McGinn, Kevin Richardson said one of the men captured on CCTV footage was wearing trousers with red stripes on them. He said he recognised them as being similar to the trousers the male passenger was wearing in the jeep that night.

Anthony Sammon SC, defending David Byrne, put it to Kevin Richardson that he might have “inherent problems in trying to maintain a pure memory” of the events that night, given the amount of material he had been shown at repeated trials.

Kevin Richardson said he gave statements at the time to gardaí about what happened, including the red stripe detail on the trousers.

Mr Sammon asked if he suffered from shock in the wake of the incident, to which Kevin Richardson replied: “I think anyone would.”

“I think the younger you are, the more resilient you can be at that age,” he said. “Did I suffer as much as my other family members? Probably not.”

He said he had moved on with his life and was now a secondary school teacher.

Ian Richardson also gave evidence via videolink from abroad and described the events of that night.

He said he was scared and “shook up” as events unfolded.

“You're a prisoner in your own home, your family is being held hostage,” he said. “...No person deserves to feel like a prisoner in their own home.”

Former Securicor control room supervisor, Eugene Grant, took the stand and described getting a call from Stepaside garda station around 9.40am on March 14, 2005.

The garda told him members of the Richardson family had just arrived in the station and asked him if Paul Richardson had come into work that morning.

Mr Grant said he then checked the whereabouts of Mr Richardson using the company GPS system and discovered it was not on its scheduled route and was instead on the road to Kinnegad. The van was then radioed and Mr Richardson's colleague told the control room they were in Tallaght.

“My conclusion was, we had a problem,” Mr Grant told the court.

He said he and his colleagues continued to monitor the van and kept gardaí updated before an alarm was sounded by the crew on the van at about 10am.

Mr Richardson's co-worker told them they were in trouble and needed an ambulance. The cash-in-transit van crew was then told that everything was OK and Mr Richardson's family was safe.

Under cross-examination from Feargal Kavanagh SC, representing Niall Byrne, Mr Grant brought the court through the staff hierarchy and working systems of Securicor back in 2005.

He agreed that at the time, the robbery was the largest cash-in-transit van robbery in the history of the state.

Mr Grant said that in the year leading up to the robbery, there were up to 200 staff members who worked for Securicor, which had a high staff turnover. He agreed that a “large number of people” would have had access to information relating to how the company operated.

On the day of the kidnapping, the court heard Mr Richardson was assigned the van with the most amount of money in it - €2.28 million – and was placed on a route that he would not normally undertake. Mr Grant said “a number of people” would have known how much money was in the van that day.

The trial continues before Judge Melanie Greally and an enlarged jury of seven women and eight men. It is set to last three months.

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