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Monday 1 May 2017

Kidnap dad 'feared he'd never see his baby again', trial is told

Jonathan Gill (35) has denied false imprisonment
Jonathan Gill (35) has denied false imprisonment

A postal worker has described how he believed he would never see his partner and baby again during a kidnapping and robbery in Co Louth.

Warren Nawn told a jury how he was tied up and beaten before being sent to An Post to collect €600,000 while his partner, now wife, and baby were held by armed raiders.

He said the raiders repeatedly threatened to kill his family if anything went wrong and at one point Ms Nawn was threatened with rape.

It is the State's case that Jonathan Gill (35) was one of the group of five, who together were involved in holding the family hostage in their own home before moving them to a shed about a 90-minute drive away.

Mr Gill, of Malahide Road, Swords, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to falsely imprisoning Warren Nawn, Jean Marie Nawn and their baby in Drogheda between August 1 and August 2, 2011.

Mr Nawn told Vincent Heneghan, prosecuting, that he was having a relaxing day off and was watching television when he opened his door to a man holding a pizza box and covering his face with a scarf.

The man had a gun and ordered Mr Nawn to the ground before taking him inside. Another man arrived and they wrapped masking tape around his eyes, hands and mouth and started asking him about his work at An Post.

One raider said, "a mad b*****d, madder than me, is coming and he would have no problem raping her", indicating Ms Nawn. He also told Mr Nawn to "remember the baby they found by the river in Mayo".

Another man, who Mr Nawn described as the "boss man", arrived and continued to question him. This man threatened to put a bullet in the back of Mr Nawn's head if he was lying.

Mr Nawn said he was physically lifted up and put in the boot of his own car, which was then driven for 90 minutes to a farmyard. He did not know where his family was at this time.

There, he saw his partner and child and all three were held overnight. The "boss man" gave Mr Nawn detailed instructions on how he should go into work in the morning and wait for a cash van delivery before bringing the money to the LMFM radio studio car park.

Speeding

Mr Nawn said it was clear the "boss man" had very detailed knowledge about where he worked but didn't seem to know the names of the streets and bridges in Drogheda.

In the morning, the raiders put his work uniform on him and drove him to Drogheda. As Mr Nawn was leaving, Ms Nawn told him to do what they said. He replied he would do whatever it took to keep them safe.

When he was dropped off, Mr Nawn drove to work while in phone contact with the raiders. He said he was speeding, overtaking traffic and breaking traffic lights and that he became very concerned when he saw a garda car with its lights on.

He said he thought he would be stopped and would never see his family again. However, he was able to continue to work, where he told his manager about the kidnapping, as instructed by the raiders.

He filled two large bags with money and drove towards LMFM. There, he was told to drive to an overpass and throw the money over the side.

When he did so, he was told he had thrown the money at the wrong place and told to retrieve it.

Mr Nawn climbed into some briars to get the cash but was then instructed to leave it. He was then told to drive to the Boyne Valley Bridge and break up the phone he was given before throwing it in the river.

Having done this, he returned to work, where gardai were called. He refused to speak to officers as he was still concerned about his family's safety, but began co-operating when it was confirmed they were safe.

Mr Nawn identified pieces of a phone that had been recovered from the river by gardai as the one he was using. He also identified cable ties that had been left on his wrists.

The trial continues.

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