herald

Monday 23 July 2018

'I collapsed on side of road once I heard my family was safe' - dad

Paul and Marie Richardson at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photo: Maxwells Dublin/Courtpix
Paul and Marie Richardson at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photo: Maxwells Dublin/Courtpix

A cash-in-transit van driver has told a tiger kidnapping trial that he collapsed on the side of the road after hearing that an armed gang had released his wife and young sons.

Securicor worker Paul Richardson continued his evidence on day two of the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial of four men who are accused of being part of a gang that kidnapped his family and stole €2.28m.

Mark Farrelly (46), Christopher Corcoran (70), David Byrne (45) and Niall Byrne (36) have all pleaded not guilty to the false imprisonment of four members of the Richardson family at their home in Ashcroft, Raheny, Dublin, on March 13 and 14, 2005.

Mr Farrelly, of Moatview Court, Priorswood, Mr Corcoran, of Rosevale, Raheny, David Byrne, of Old Brazil Way, Knocksedan Demesne, Swords, and Niall Byrne, of Crumlin Road Flats, Dublin, also deny robbing Paul Richardson and Securicor of €2.28m on March 14, 2005.

Crying

Mr Richardson told the jury that armed raiders burst into the family home on a Sunday evening and drove his wife and sons away.

They then told him to go to work the next day and collect cash as usual.

He said that at between three and four in the morning a raider handed him a mobile phone and told him: "Talk to your wife."

He said he asked her if she was all right and she asked him the same question.

After he left for work the next day, members of the gang continued to contact him with further instructions.

They were aware of his daily routine and told him "we're watching you all the time", the court heard.

Mr Richardson said that when he told two other Securicor employees that his family had been kidnapped, he described it as "the worst thing that could ever happen to us".

He said his co-workers agreed to go along with the gang's instructions because they had his wife Marie and their boys.

The gang then phoned with instructions to drive out towards west Dublin.

"All the time I was afraid for Marie and the boys because I couldn't trust these men," he said.

Mr Richardson said the raiders gave further instructions to drive to the Anglers Rest pub in west Dublin and leave the bags of cash in the car park.

He said that while he was emptying the cash he asked the raider, over the mobile phone, when he would see his wife and children again.

"He ignored me. He just said, 'Keep getting that money out as quick as you can. Don't be f**king around'," Mr Richardson said.

The raider told him to leave the mobile phone with the cash.

Mr Richardson said he asked again when he would see his family. The raider told him he would contact him via a Securicor walkie-talkie.

The gang told Mr Richardson to drive out along the N4 and wait until they contacted him to say his family were safe.

He told the trial that the pressure he was feeling caused his driving after he had dropped of the money to be erratic.

"I was crying. At times it was hard to see through the tears," he said.

He said he was experiencing chest pains and his two colleagues told him to pull over.

He said he didn't want to do that until he received the call from the raiders.

Ambulance

His chest pains increased and he could hardly drive, he said, and he eventually stopped the van. His two colleagues raised the alarm with Securicor.

The men were then informed that Mrs Richardson and their sons had been released safely.

Mr Richardson said that when he heard this he began to feel very faint.

"I needed air. The pains in my chest were very bad. I collapsed on to the floor of the van," he said.

His workmates put him into the revolving door of the security van. It opened and he fell on to the road.

"The next thing I remember, I was in the back of an ambulance," he said.

The jury heard that a number of others were prosecuted for these offences and this was a retrial.

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