Father facing 14 years for 31.7m tiger raid haul
A MAN is to be sentenced later this week for possessing part of a €7.7m bank heist following the tiger kidnapping of a bank employee, his girlfriend and her family last year.
Gardai accepted that Mark Donoghue (40), who was caught with €1.7m later that day, did not know the victims had been held at gunpoint in their Kildare home the previous night.
The Bank of Ireland employee was ordered to go to work at his branch in College Green, Dublin, where he arranged for the money to be placed in bags before it was handed to the gang.
He had been given photographs of his girlfriend and her family and the home of another staff member to show his colleagues before the cash was taken.
Donoghue, a married father-of-two, of Kileen, Legen, Co Longford, pleaded guilty to possessing the cash knowing it to be or being reckless as to whether it was the proceeds of criminal conduct at the M50 on-ramp southbound junction with the N3 on February 27, 2009. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 14 years.
Donoghue had previously run a successful company providing bricklaying services to construction firms but the business collapsed and he was in severe financial difficulty and in the process of being sued. He agreed to hold the cash for €5,000 and was to pass it onto other criminals the next day.
Superintendent Patrick Mangan told the court that gardai acting on confidential information, had an address in Great Western Villas, Dublin 7, under surveillance hours after the robbery.
Donoghue was observed entering a house in the estate before leaving with another man carrying holdall bags. This second man left and a third man arrived before the bags were placed in an Opel Astra.
The third man then got into the Volkswagen while Donoghue got into the Astra. Gardai surrounded both vehicles and blocked Donoghue's exit but he managed to get by and fled the scene.
Supt Mangan said that at least one patrol car pursued Donoghue and at the junction of the N3 with the M50 he was blocked in by a second squad car and arrested.
The holdall containing €1.7m in cash was found in the boot of the Astra and later analysis linked it back to the money taken in the robbery.
Donoghue later told gardai, during one of 12 interviews, that he had been approached by a man while he was in a pub following a funeral and was offered an opportunity to earn €5,000 after the man learned he was in severe financial difficulties.
Supt Mangan agreed with Mr Costelloe that Donoghue never received the €5,000 and gardai were satisfied he knew nothing about the imprisonment of the victims the previous day.
He said that Donoghue, who has one previous conviction for a public order offence, acknowledged that he knew the cash had come from an illegitimate source and that it had been the proceeds of crime.
Supt Mangan agreed with Bernard Condon, defending, that Donoghue had been running a successful business in Longford but it is no longer trading since the collapse of the construction industry.
Mr Condon asked Judge Patricia Ryan to accept that his client had a different level of involvement to the organiser of the robbery and kidnapping.
He said a letter from Donoghue stated that his client understands that his "stupidity" has caused his family so much trouble, while a letter from the accused's wife said that their debt had spiralled at that time and they felt like "the world was suing us".
Judge Ryan remanded Donoghue in continuing custody and adjourned sentencing.