Tuesday 20 March 2018

Ten-week-old tot taken in €600,000 tiger raid

Family held while cash stolen from post office

Jean Marie Matthews and Warren Nawn
Jean Marie Matthews and Warren Nawn

Elaine Keogh and Mark Hilliard

A 10-week-old baby was held hostage in the latest tiger kidnapping in which up to €600,000 was stolen from a post office.

The family was targeted by a gang of up to five men at their home in Drogheda, Co Louth, at around 10pm on Monday. All three were held hostage overnight.

The family was named locally as Warren Nawn, from Drogheda, his partner Jean Marie Matthews (35), from Dunleer and their young daughter Ella who was born in May.

The mother and daughter were held hostage by the gang until Mr Nawn had taken the cash from the town's main post office on West Street and dropped it at a pre-arranged location.

Their ordeal began on Monday night when two men, one carrying a handgun, forced their way into their home in Forest Park, Drogheda.

At around 10.30am yesterday, Mr Nawn followed his usual routine in going to work.

The incident was likely timed for the first Tuesday of the month, the day children's allowance is paid out at post offices.

After the security van had delivered the children's allowance payments, Mr Nawn gathered the cash as demanded by the gang and put it into an An Post bag. He then delivered it to a drop-off point.

"A number of hours later the partner and child of the official were located," gardai said.

Just after 1pm Ms Matthews and her baby daughter were found walking along a rural road having been released, unharmed, at Damastown, Dublin 15, between Tyrrelstown in west Dublin and Clonee, Co Meath.

It's believed the gang brought them in their own car -- a silver Open Corsa -- from their house yesterday morning and that this was the same car found burnt out later in the Summerseat housing estate in Clonee.

The gang, which is believed to be Dublin based, escaped with what is estimated to be between €550,000 and €600,000 in cash. Gardai do not suspect any subversive involvement.

Last night, a relative of the postal worker, Leo Nawn, said he was on his way to visit the family but that he was unaware of their condition.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter last night condemned the gang's actions. "I deplore the kidnapping of people and the subsequent robbery; this is one of the most vicious forms of crime and our sympathies go out to the victims," he said.


"Based on initial information I have received, I have asked the garda authorities to let me have a detailed report on the circumstances surrounding the incident, including, in particular, whether agreed procedures for dealing with this sort of incident were followed."

Officers from the National Bureau of Crime Investigation, the Organised Crime Unit and Drogheda gardai are investigating and have appealed for assistance.

Garda Superintendent John Gilligan condemned the kidnapping and particularly that of a young child.

"During the course of the morning gardai became aware of the incident and a comprehensive response team was put in place," he said.

"Sometimes the families of the officials of these financial institutions are affected. The partners, wives or husbands (are affected) and sometimes the children. This is a horrible situation for people to be in.

"We are asking anyone out there who has information to come forward and assist us."

Some 40 detectives have been placed on the case and it is believed that extensive preparatory work was carried out by the gang beforehand -- including monitoring Mr Nawn's routine.

It is also believed that An Post will launch its own inquiry into security arrangements at the branch.

Locals were shocked by the country's latest tiger kidnapping.

"I know the man in question and he is from a decent family," said neighbour Jim Branigan.

His wife Kathleen said she was now "afraid to be living here. This is a nightmare. This is a very quiet estate".

Irish Independent

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