Tiger kidnapping trial continues

Wednesday, 5th December, 2018 4:28pm

Tiger kidnapping trial continues


A prosecutor in a €90,000 tiger kidnapping trial told the jury the “critical mass of evidence does not leave any room for reasonable uncertainty” other than that the accused man is guilty.

Paschal Kelly (52) with an address at Ballyjamesduff, Cavan, pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to trespass and false imprisonment of postmistress Susan Lawlor, her daughter Emma Carter and Italian student Gabriella Saisa at Seabury Drive, Malahide, Dublin, on September 25, 2014.

Mr Kelly also pleaded not guilty to robbing Ms Lawlor of cash at Bayside Post Office, Sutton, Dublin, and threatening to kill her, Ms Carter and Ms Saisa at an unknown location in the State. He also denies the unlawful possession of a vehicle, all on the same date.

Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, told the jury in his closing speech that the description of the man described by Ms Lawlor as “man number one” matched that of Mr Kelly.

Counsel said the witness told how the man who threatened to burn her and the other two woman and who waited in the getaway car, a Volkswagen Golf, while his two accomplices raided the post office, was in his late 40s, early 50s, had facial hair, blue eyes, was tall and was balding.

He said the woman described this man as appearing to be the one in charge and the most aggressive.

“This matches a description of the accused in front of you,” Mr Naidoo submitted. “It is not a coincidence,” he continued.

Counsel said the driver of the getaway car was also linked to a particular phone, which was tracked through different phone cell sites in the vicinity of the post office. This device only communicated with a second phone, which remained in the general location of the post office.

He said the getaway car later stopped on the Malahide Road and the other two raiders jumped out of the car. One of them, the youngest of the three was arrested at the scene, while the second man managed to escape.

DNA from both of these men was later recovered from clothing discarded in nearby gardens along with the phone that remained in the post office, Mr Naidoo said.

Mr Naidoo reminded the jury they heard evidence that the Golf continued for some distance before colliding with another vehicle. The man in this second car gave gardaí a description of the driver which counsel said bears similar features to the description given by Ms Lawlor as man number one.

He said the getaway driver ran off and CCTV footage of him running through a nearby housing estate was shown to the jury during the trial.

Mr Naidoo suggested to the jury that the man captured on the footage bears a striking resemblance to the description given by Ms Lawlor and the driver of the crashed vehicle.

Counsel told the jury that a hat and neck-warmer found in the gardens which this man ran past were later analysed and found to contain Mr Kelly's DNA.

“Two complete DNA profiles were found on the inside of these items,” Mr Naidoo said before suggesting to the jury that Mr Kelly wore both the hat and neck-warmer when committing the robbery.

He said the phone the State say was used by the getaway driver was also found in the same garden.

“When you are talking about the possibility of coincidence, there is no rationale or reasonable basis on which the combination of that evidence could be fabricated,” Mr Naidoo told the jury before he suggested that Mr Kelly is man number one.

He told the jury Mr Kelly's DNA was also found on two water bottles recovered from the Golf. He said the Golf was stolen two weeks previously and suggested it was taken for use in the robbery.

Mr Naidoo told the jury there was evidence from a taxi driver who later picked up a man from around the area where the items had been discarded and brought him to the home of Mr Kelly's then partner. He reminded them of CCTV footage from a petrol station that captured that journey.

He asked the jury to accept “that there is a critical mass of evidence that does not leave any room for reasonable uncertainty” other than that Mr Kelly is guilty of the crimes he is charged with.

The trial continues before Judge Karen O'Connor with defence counsel Martin O'Rourke SC addressing the jury tomorrow (Wednesday).


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