Tuesday 10 December 2019

Salesman settles court action after €400,000 worth of jewellery robbed by armed men from hotel room

Noah Stefanicki from Salisbury Road, Southampton, England pictured leaving the Four Courts
Noah Stefanicki from Salisbury Road, Southampton, England pictured leaving the Four Courts

Tim Healy

AN English jewellery salesman has settled his High Court action against a Dublin hotel after he claimed he was robbed of around €400,000 worth of diamond rings and bracelets by three armed men who burst into the room he was sleeping in.

Noah Stefanicki (71) was hit over the head with a hammer by one robber as another shouted "shoot him, shoot him" at his room in the Travelodge Hotel, Ballymun, the High Court heard.

Mr Stefanicki, who said he never went anywhere without his small black bag containing the valuable jewellery, tackled one of the raiders and also ran after them, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan was told.

His counsel, Ciaran O'Loughlin, told the court the jewellery stolen included  ten trays containing 36 rings each including  sapphire, emerald and diamonds, as well as engagement, dress and eternity rings, none worth less than €1,300 each.

His bag, which was never recovered, also contained a pouch of  diamond bracelets worth a total of €77,000, counsel said.

Mr Stefanicki, from Gigglewick Cottage, Salisbury Road, Southampton, England  sued the hotel owners, Smorgs Limited trading at The Travelodge Group, over the robbery on January 28, 2010.

He claimed there was an alleged failure to have any adequate regard for his safety while he was a guest at the hotel.

He also claimed he was exposed to a risk of injury or damage of which the hotel were aware or ought to have been aware.

He further claimed there was an alleged failure to operate any adequate or appropriate system of security and that armed assailants were allegedly permitted to enter the premises without having been apparently without interruption or challenge.

He had to get stitches to the head in hospital afterwards and he suffered post traumatic stress disorder, it is claimed.  He could not work for a long time afterwards, it is alleged.

The hotel denied the claims and contended the use of a safe had been offered to Mr Stefanicki.

After talks yesterday, Mr Justice  Noonan was told the case had been settled and could be struck out.

The court had heard Mr Stefanicki, who at one time has served in the Israeli Army, usually came to Ireland once a month visiting jewellery shops around the country.

He had stayed in the Travelodge, Ballymun twice before.

After visiting a number of shops, he had checked in to the hotel the night before his return flight home.

He had dinner in the hotel and later dozed off looking at TV in his room.

He heard a loud bang and the three masked men entered his room, one carrying a gun and a hammer.

He jumped out of bed and started to struggle with the man who had the gun.

Another masked man standing at the hotel door said “shoot him; shoot him”.

Even though he received a severe blow to the head  with the hammer, he managed to follow the robbers and the gardai were called.

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