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Bosses failed to protect us -- Tiger victim

A security van driver who is suing over alleged post-traumatic stress from a tiger kidnapping claimed yesterday nothing was done to protect him and his family following a similar crime two years earlier.

James Eakins (62) of Greenhills, Dublin, says he also suffers from depression arising out of the incident in which he and his van crew were asked to hand more than €1m to a work colleague whose wife was the victim of the kidnapping.

He has brought a High Court action against Securicor Security Services Ltd seeking damages damages for psychiatric injuries he suffered following the robbery of the van at a service station in Carlow on January 17, 2007. He worked at the company for six years.

Video

He claims his then employers failed to provide him a safe working environment, a safe system of work a safe place to work, and had no regard for his health and safety while he was carrying out his duty. The defendants deny the claims.

On the second day of the case yesterday, under cross examination by Finbar Fox for Securicor, Mr Eakins said in his opinion following the kidnapping of the family of another Securicor employee in 2005, nothing was done by the company in terms of providing protection.

He said that there were short talks, and that staff were shown a video about tiger kidnappings.

Two Securicor managers, Ann Purcell and Glen Keane, told the court however that following that 2005 kidnapping, the company took steps to protect its workers.

Vigilant

Employees were given advice about how to conduct themselves in public to reduce the risk of becoming victim to these kidnappings, and employees were encouraged to be more vigilant, the managers said.

The company also consulted with the gardai and international risk assessments about tiger kidnappings they said.

Ms Purcell disagreed that the company "rested on its laurels" following that kidnapping or that Securicor was "a soft touch" for criminal gangs.

The court heard last week that Mr Eakins was making a delivery to an ATM at a petrol station when he was approached by a colleague, Bernard Hogan, who asked them to cooperate with the gang to ensure his wife's safety.

Mr Hogan's wife Ailish had been kidnapped from the couple's home the previous night.

The case continues.

hnews@herald.ie