herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Suspect in €660k tiger kidnap has bail relaxed for more drinking time

Jonathan Gill is accused of taking part in a tiger kidnapping (Courtpix)
Jonathan Gill is accused of taking part in a tiger kidnapping (Courtpix)

A man accused of taking part in a tiger kidnapping of a family has succeeded in having his bail conditions relaxed "so he can live a normal life" and go for a drink with his son.

Jonathan Gill (38) is accused of abducting an An Post worker and his family and forcing the victim to take €661,125 from his work. The family, including a ten-month-old baby, were held at gunpoint overnight.

Mr Gill, a father-of-two of Malahide Road, Coolock, Dublin is charged with falsely imprisoning a post office worker, his partner and their daughter in Drogheda between August 1 and 2, 2011.

He is also charged with stealing cash from the post office.

He has yet to enter a plea but Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday that he "fiercely denies the charges".

The bail hearing heard that a masked gang went to the family's home in Co Louth dressed as parcel delivery men. The family were taken to a farmyard and held overnight.

At 8am, the father was given his An Post uniform and told to go the post office on West Street in Drogheda and take the money. He was directed via mobile phone to drop the cash at the side of a motorway before disposing of the phone.

Abduction

James Dwyer BL, prosecuting, told Judge Melanie Greally that during the abduction there was no food for the family, including the baby.

It is the State's case that Mr Gill went to the shop to buy milk for the baby and was caught on CCTV.

The court was told Mr Gill's car was seen in a convoy going to the family's house.

A co-accused's car was also seen in the convoy and his DNA was found on a pizza box at the scene, it is alleged.

Mr Gill - who is due to stand trial in February 2017 - was granted bail on strict conditions after being charged in 2013. He was ordered to sign on twice daily at Pearse Street Garda Station and keep a 10pm curfew.

Gardai had opposed bail due to the seriousness of the charges and the belief that Mr Gill still had access to the stolen money.

Yesterday, Dean Kelly BL, defending, asked the court to relax the signing on and curfew provisions so that Mr Gill could "live a normal life".

Counsel said Mr Gill's son was training to be jockey in the UK but would be home for the summer, and his client would like to be able to go for a drink with him without worrying about getting home in time.

Counsel also asked the court to allow Mr Gill to sign on once a day to make it easier for him to work. He conceded his client was not presently employed.

The court was initially told Mr Gill wanted to relax his bail conditions so he could do a training course in Cavan.

However, he had since decided against doing this course as "he does not want to be a celebrity suspect" with gardai calling to the course to check on him.

Judge Greally agreed to partially relax bail conditions. She said Mr Gill must sign on twice a day on four days every week, but can sign on once for the other three. She also extended his curfew until 11pm.

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