Man con­victed of kid­nap­ping post­mistress

Woman’s daugh­ter and vis­it­ing stu­dent also ab­ducted in in­ci­dent ‘like hor­ror movie’ Vic­tim man­aged to ring spe­cial ‘tiger raid hot­line num­ber’ dur­ing ¤90,000 rob­bery

The Irish Times - - Home News - AOIFE NIC ARDGHAIL

A man has been con­victed over a ¤90,000 tiger kid­nap­ping four years ago in which a post­mistress, her daugh­ter and a vis­it­ing stu­dent were ab­ducted from their home in an in­ci­dent one of the women said “felt like a hor­ror movie”.

Paschal Kelly (53), of Coote­hill, Co Ca­van, had pleaded not guilty at the Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court to tres­pass and to false im­pris­on­ment of post­mistress Su­san Lawlor, her daugh­ter Emma Carter and Ital­ian stu­dent Gabriella Saisa, at Se­abury Drive, Malahide, Dublin, on Septem­ber 25th, 2014.

Kelly had also pleaded not guilty to rob­bing Ms Lawlor of money at Bay­side Post Of­fice in Dublin, and threat­en­ing to kill her, Ms Carter and Ms Saisa at an un­known lo­ca­tion. He had also de­nied un­law­ful possession of a ve­hi­cle, all on the same date.

The jury of seven men and five women re­turned unan­i­mous guilty ver­dicts on all charges af­ter one hour and 40 min­utes of de­lib­er­a­tions.

The trial was orig­i­nally sched­uled to last six weeks, but ex­tended into a ninth week due to le­gal ar­gu­ment in the ab­sence of the jury.

Judge Karen O’Con­nor thanked the ju­rors for their “ex­tra­or­di­nary ser­vice” and com­mit­ment.

Kelly was re­manded in cus­tody ahead of sen­tenc­ing in Jan­uary. The judge di­rected that vic­tim im­pact state­ments be pre­pared for the three in­jured par­ties.

Masked

Dur­ing the trial Ms Lawlor, Ms Carter and Ms Saisa de­scribed be­ing ab­ducted by two masked and armed in­trud­ers in the early hours of the morn­ing and driven to var­i­ous lo­ca­tions be­fore the post of­fice raid.

The men broke into the home, tied the women’s hands with ca­ble ties and bun­dled them all into Ms Lawlor’s Nis­san Qashqai. They were later joined by a third raider at a field in an un­known lo­ca­tion.

On the way to this field, Ms Lawlor told the jury her phone rang in her hand­bag. She said the driver “freaked” and asked, ‘Who the f**k is ring­ing you at this hour of the morn­ing?’

She said this raider, who she called ‘Num­ber 1’, had ini­tially come into her room af­ter break­ing in and de­manded to know if she had made a call.

She de­nied do­ing so but told the jury she had man­aged to ring a spe­cial “tiger raid hot­line num­ber” is­sued by An Post when she heard her daugh­ter scream­ing.

Af­ter her phone rang in the car, her daugh­ter tried to calm the sit­u­a­tion by suggest­ing it was one of the neigh­bours.

“I feared for my life be­cause the Num­ber 1 guy kept say­ing he was go­ing to shoot me if I’d made the call,” Ms Lawlor tes­ti­fied.

Ms Carter said it had “felt like a hor­ror movie” upon see­ing two in­trud­ers in her home but that she “knew it would be okay” once she re­alised it was a tiger kid­nap­ping, if the raiders got their money.

Ms Saisa, who had been stay­ing with Ms Lawlor while she learned English, said she felt nau­seous and thought the men were go­ing to kill her.

Ms Lawlor said raider Num­ber 1 beat and threat­ened her when she told them the post of­fice safe was on a timer. She said they drove her alone to her work­place hours later and robbed the cash.

She de­scribed how she spat in the back­seat of the raiders’ car and plucked one of her hairs on this jour­ney to the post of­fice. “If I died, I wanted gar­daí to know I’d been in the car,” she said.

Ms Lawlor said at 8am the raiders opened the safe and she sug­gested they use a post bag to empty the money, as she knew it would be linked to the raid.

She said as soon as the men left, she hit the panic but­ton and phoned gar­daí.

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