Thursday 23 November 2017

Two suspects held after postmistress and son shot

The post office in Oulart, Co Wexford, where the postmistress and her son were hit by pellets from a shotgun blast
The post office in Oulart, Co Wexford, where the postmistress and her son were hit by pellets from a shotgun blast

Tom Brady and Brendan Furlong

GARDAI investigating two armed robberies in Co Wexford yesterday have arrested two suspects.

They detained two men in their 20s in a swoop on a mobile home in Courtown, Co Wexford, last night.

The mobile home has been sealed off pending a detailed forensic examination.

In the first raid, a postmistress and her son were hit by a blast from a sawn-off shotgun.

And in the second hold-up, bungling raiders were forced to abandon a stolen safe after it became jammed in a lift.

Both raids took place within five hours of each other.

In each case the raiders fled with just a few euro.

A cordon was set up around the county and checkpoints manned by armed detectives on the roads leading to Dublin.

Two cars, believed to have been used by the raiders, were later found burnt out.

The most serious incident took place at the post office in Oulart village in Co Wexford at 9.35am.

Three masked men, armed with a shotgun, burst into the office where postmistress Christine Dempsey was talking to a customer.

They shouted at the terrified Ms Demspey (66) and demanded money from the safe and petty cash.


The gang believed that Mrs Dempsey activated a panic button and in the confusion one of the criminals fired a blast from the shotgun, hitting Mrs Dempsey in the elbow.

The pellets ricocheted and hit her 31-year-old son John, who was in the rear of the premises at the time, in the leg.

A small amount of money is thought to have been taken from the till.

However, gardai said they would not be able to confirm if any cash was missing until they had interviewed Mrs Dempsey.

A substantial amount of money had already been handed out to customers collecting children's allowance payments.

The safe was not touched and the gang fled almost empty handed.

The injured mother and son were taken to Wexford general hospital, but their injuries were not serious.

Five hours earlier, raiders had forced their way into Sean Og's hotel and nightclub in Kilmuckridge, five miles from Oulart.

Four men attacked night porter David Ellis and he sustained minor bruising during a struggle before he was tied up.

They ordered Mr Ellis to point out where the safe was being held.

But their plans were thwarted after they became stuck in a lift and were forced to abandon the safe.

The raiders grabbed a couple of hundred euro in petty cash and made their getaway in a car, which was later found burnt out in Gorey.

Last night Detective Superintendent Dominic Hayes, from Waterford, and Inspector Pat Cody, from Enniscorthy, were co-ordinating the search for the remaining suspects.

In Oulart, local priest Fr John Jordan spoke of the local community's shock. He said: "What has happened at the post office has been a terrible ordeal for everyone there and has shocked everyone in the area."

Gardai were also trying to establish whether a shotgun and ammunition stolen from a house in Bray, Co Wicklow, on Monday night were used in the shooting at the post.

Irish Independent

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