Sunday 21 April 2019

Driver in 'ski mask' seen by garda, €90k kidnap trial is told

Accused man Paschal Kelly
Accused man Paschal Kelly

A detective has told a €90,000 tiger kidnapping trial that he saw a car driven by a man in a ski mask near a postmistress' home only hours after her abduction.

Det Gda Eamon Keane said he and colleagues were parked close to the house in the early hours when a Volkswagen car drove past.

He told Kerida Naidoo, prosecuting, that the car braked sharply before turning on to postmistress Susan Lawlor's home street.


He said he could not see the vehicle registration, but believed there were two occupants in the car and that the driver was wearing what looked like a ski mask, obscuring his face.

Det Gda Keane said this car emerged from the street about 30 seconds later and drove away from the garda vehicle.

He told Mr Naidoo that he and his colleagues then drove past Ms Lawlor's home and he noticed blue lights flashing on the external wall alarm box, but no ringing.

He said some of the upstairs windows had their curtains pulled open and lights on, and there was an empty parking space at the front of the house.

Paschal Kelly (52), of Coote-hill, Co Cavan, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to trespass and falsely imprisoning Ms Lawlor, Emma Carter and Gabriella Saisa at Seabury Drive, Malahide, Dublin, on September 25, 2014.

He has also pleaded not guilty to robbing Ms Lawlor of cash at Bayside Post Office, Sutton, and threatening to kill her, Ms Carter and Ms Saisa at an unknown location in the State.

He has also denied unlawful possession of a vehicle, all on the same date.

Det Gda Keane agreed with Martin O'Rourke, defending, that he did not write a note of spotting the Volkswagen vehicle until he made his statement about five days later.

He said his observations were clear in his mind as the time frame of the sighting was short.

He further accepted that the registration number his colleague had noted as he looked through the back of the garda car was incorrect.

Det Gda Keane said his coll- eague gave one digit of the registration incorrectly.

The trial continues before Judge Karen O'Connor and a jury.

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