herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

RTE newsreader's sister is the victim of shotgun robbery in Wicklow

Eileen Whelan and, inset, the house at the centre of the robbery
Eileen Whelan and, inset, the house at the centre of the robbery
Gardai at the house at Laragh at the centre of a robbery
The house at Laragh at the centre of a robbery
Gardai at the house at Laragh at the centre of a robbery
Gardai search the undergrowth at the house at Laragh at the centre of a robbery last night
Gardai at the house at Laragh at the centre of a robbery last night.
The Heather Restaurant at Laragh where a robbery took place last night.

One of the victims of an armed burglary in Co Wicklow is a sister of RTE newsreader Eileen Whelan.

Four masked men armed with a shotgun targeted Betty Kenny and her husband John just after midnight on Monday night at their home in Laragh.

They had just come from the well-known Wicklow Heather restaurant, which they own in the scenic village, when they noticed there was a gang of men in the house.

The couple live very close to the restaurant on a secluded laneway up a hill.

When they got home, Betty noticed the group of men in the property. She fled the scene and called gardai.

The men had tied up one of the restaurant employees in the house and it appears they were awaiting John and Betty to return.

John Kenny was then confronted by the masked gang, who threatened him with a shotgun.

The raiders took a small amount of cash and a mobile phone from Mr Kenny before fleeing the scene.

There were no reports of injuries, but the couple and employee were shaken by the experience.

"We are shocked and traumatised but hope that what happened to us will make other businesspeople more vigilant," Betty later said.

It is understood the family believe they had been under surveillance by the gang in the lead-up to the robbery in an effort to build up a profile of their regular movements.

A site in the Booterstown area of Dublin also became part of the wider investigation yesterday.

Yesterday morning a garda four-wheel-drive vehicle arrived at the scene in Laragh and evidence bags containing clothing were taken and shown to detectives who noted their description.

It is suspected the clothing was collected by investigating gardai to see if any of the witnesses to last night's aggravated burglary could recognise them as being the same clothing worn by the gang members.

Laragh3.jpg
Gardai at the house at Laragh at the centre of a robbery

Gardai also carried out forensic searches in the undergrowth in the immediate vicinity of the house and the laneway.

An area further up the laneway, which overlooks the house, was the focus of a ground search involving a garda team who went through the long grass and undergrowth on their hands and knees.

Meanwhile, in the house where the incident took place, a separate team from the garda technical bureau searched and photographed the interior.

Gardai in Ashford are investigating the crime.

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