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Cavan man to be sentenced over €92,000 robbery in which three women were abducted from their home

Paschal Kelly was convicted last December of robbing a Dublin post office and threatening to kill three women.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A CAVAN MAN will be sentenced next week for a €92,000 post office robbery during which a postmistress, her daughter and an Italian student were abducted from their home.

Paschal Kelly, 53, with an address in Cootehill, Co Cavan, was convicted last December of trespass and false imprisonment of postmistress Susan Lawlor, her daughter Emma Carter and student Gabriella Saisa at their home at Seabury Drive, Malahide, Dublin, on 25 September, 2014.

He was also convicted of robbing cash at Bayside Post Office, Sutton, Dublin, and threatening to kill the three women at an unknown location in the State.

He was also found guilty of possession of a stolen vehicle on the same date.

The father-of-two had pleaded not guilty to all charges. His trial last year extended into a ninth week at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

On Friday, Detective Garda Donal O’Connell described how two armed and masked raiders entered Lawlor’s home in the early hours of the morning.

Before being abducted, the postmistress managed to call a special tiger kidnapping number issued by An Post.

Garda O’Connell told Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, that she put the phone under her bed covers as the call went through and staff at the security monitoring centre were able to listen in. This set off a chain of events and gardaí got involved.

‘Most threatening’

The two men drove the women, who were bound by cable ties, to north county Dublin in Lawlor’s Nissan Qashqai, before they were joined by a third man in a stolen Volkswagen Golf.

The women later described this man as the least threatening and youngest of the raiders. He was identified as Stephen Murray, who has since died.

The women gave evidence during the trial that the taller of the two men who entered their home was the most aggressive. It was the prosecution’s case that this was Kelly.

When Lawlor pointed out that the post office safe was on a time lock, Kelly physically assaulted her and threatened to burn her and the other two women alive.

Eventually the raiders brought the three women to the post office, took about €92,000 and left in the Volkswagen Golf.

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Members of the Emergency Response Unit tracked down the vehicle and arrested Stephen Murray at the scene.

The other two raiders evaded capture, but Kelly’s DNA was found to match that on water bottles in the Volkswagen Golf and on a hat, face mask and glove found in rear gardens of houses along the escape route.

The court heard that Kelly’s 60 previous convictions include assaults, escaping lawful custody, robbery and road traffic offences.

In March 2015 he was sentenced for threatening to kill a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) officer and failure to provide tax returns.

He received ten years for a post office robbery in 1997 and four years for another robbery offence in 1989.

Judge O’Connor remanded Kelly in continuing custody pending his sentence next week.

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About the author:

Aoife Nic Ardghail

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