Trial of Cavan resident accused of ”tiger kidnapping” hears from postmistress

A Dublin postmistress and her daughter have described how they were abducted from their home with their Italian student lodger during a €90,000 ‘tiger kidnapping’ four years ago.

52 year old Paschal Kelly with an address of Cootehill in County Cavan has pleaded not guilty to trespass and falsely imprisoning postmistress Susan Lawlor, her daughter and an Italian student in Dublin in September 2014.

Postmistress Susan Lawlor said she managed to ring a special “tiger raid hotline number” issued by An Post when she heard her daughter screaming in the early hours of the morning.

She said she had slid her phone under her bed covers when a man dressed in black entered her room.

She said this intruder, who she named “Number 1”, demanded to know if she’d made a call.

Ms Lawlor told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court she denied this, handed over her phone and then the man was joined by another intruder, also dressed in black.

She said this man “Number 2” brought her adult daughter Emma Carter and Italian student Gabriella Saisa into the room.

Ms Lawlor also described how she later spat in the backseat of the raiders’ car and plucked one of her hairs out as the kidnappers drove her alone to the post office. She told the court: “If I died, I wanted gardaí to know I’d been in the car”.

Mr Kelly has also pleaded not 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 has also denied unlawful possession of a vehicle, all on the same date.

Ms Lawlor described how Number 1 and Number 2 cable tied her and the other women’s hands and drove them to a field in an unknown location in her car, adding that she saw a small black handgun on her bed before leaving the house.

She said she had tape put over her eyes, but she could see around this while they were driving in her Nissan.

She described how she was threatened and beaten by Number 1 when she told the raiders the post office safe was on a timer, but that they eventually drove her to her workplace and robbed the cash.

Both women confirmed to Martin O’Rourke SC, defending, that gardaí had never asked them to take part in an identification parade.

Ms Carter told Mr O’Rourke that she would not have been able to identify any of the raiders because she did not get a good look at them.

The trial continues before Judge Karen O’Connor and a jury of five women and seven men.