Thursday 14 December 2017

Hostage fights off armed tiger kidnap gang in dramatic escape

Gardai and technical bureau members examine the scene
in Kettle Lane, Balbriggan, Co Dublin
Gardai and technical bureau members examine the scene in Kettle Lane, Balbriggan, Co Dublin

Kevin Keane and Tom Brady

A MAN fought off an armed gang on an isolated roadside after he freed himself from a botched tiger kidnapping.

He had earlier been taken from the house he shared with his partner by a gang who forced their way in the couple's north county Dublin home in the early hours of yesterday morning .

Three armed men held the middle-aged couple overnight in the first stage of an attempted post office robbery. The gang had planned to take the man hostage in order to force his partner to withdraw a large amount of money from the post office where she worked.

However, their plan fell apart when the man fought back. Their attempt to rob the post office also collapsed when a colleague noticed the man's partner was acting strangely.

The colleague immediately notified the gardai who intercepted the woman outside the post office, ending the terrifying ordeal.

The kidnappers fled towards Dublin city, where they attempted to destroy evidence linking them to their getaway car by setting it on fire.

However, the vehicle, found in the Seven Oaks area of Whitehall, failed to burn out completely, leaving gardai with the opportunity to gather valuable forensic evidence.

Garda spokesman Supt John Gilligan described the kidnappers as a ruthless criminal gang. "This is a very traumatic experience for the post office officials and for the community at large. In this case no money was handed over and we are determined to find the people responsible for it."

The couple at the centre of the kidnapping were interviewed by gardai for much of yesterday and have been offered counselling to help them deal with their traumatic experience.

It began after midnight when three men entered the couple's detached house in St Andrew's Park, on the outskirts of Swords in north county Dublin.

Neighbours told the Irish Independent yesterday that they didn't notice anything unusual about the house as they left for work yesterday morning.


But inside, the gang had held the couple overnight and at 8.30am told the woman to drive the 20km to the post office where she worked on Drogheda Street, Balbriggan.

The gang forced her partner into a stolen silver-coloured Volkswagen Golf and drove him to a field off Kettles Lane just north of Dublin airport.

There, they forced the man down a dirt track and tied him to a fence. The man managed to free himself and ran back towards the car.

A scuffle broke out and at one stage the gang managed to force the man into the back seat of the car. But he was able to open a back door and escape.

Apart from the three men directly involved in the kidnapping, gardai believe at least two others took part and were last night continuing investigations into the incident.

Meanwhile, gardai in the south east were last night hunting an armed masked gang, who made off with €7,000 after holding up staff and customers at a post office in Kill, Co Waterford.

Two men, armed with a shotgun, threatened a postal clerk after bursting into the premises at 11.40am yesterday.

Irish Independent

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