Jury fails to reach verdict on tiger kidnapping

A jury has failed to reach a verdict in the retrial of two men previously convicted of carrying out a €2.28m tiger kidnapping robbery.

Dubliners Mark Farrelly (42) and Christopher Corcoran (66) were alleged to have been part of an armed gang which kidnapped the family of a Securicor worker during the robbery in March 2005.

The gang took Paul Richardson's wife and their two teenage sons into the Dublin Mountains and held them there at gunpoint overnight. Other gang members held Mr Richardson at the family home until the next morning when he was told to go to work and deliver the cash to a drop off point.

Corcoran, Jason Kavanagh and Alan Costello denied the charges of falsely imprisoning the Richardsons at Ashcroft, Raheny on the night of March 13 and 14 and robbery of €2.28m in cash from Paul Richardson and Securicor Security Services Ireland Ltd on March 14, 2005.

After deliberating at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for 18 and a half hours the jury today told Judge Martin Nolan that they were unable to reach a majority verdict on the charges against Farrelly and Corcoran.

On day 50 of the trial Judge Nolan discharged the jury of eight men and three women. He thanked them for their service and described the case as a “long and arduous” one.

He remanded both men on continuing bail to come before the court again on January 20 next..

On Tuesday the jury unanimously acquitted Mr Costello of all charges, after deliberating for nearly ten hours.

They then asked to rehear DNA evidence that linked Kavanagh to a pillow case found in the family's home. After another four hours of deliberations they returned guilty verdicts against Kavanagh.

Judge Nolan refused an application to grant Kavanagh compassionate bail so that he could spend three days over Christmas with his family. The court heard that Kavanagh had returned from Spain in 2006 to answer a European Arrest Warrant and that he knows he is now facing a lengthy sentence.

Farrelly, Kavanagh and Corcoran were previously found guilty of the same charges in 2009. Judge Tony Hunt sentenced Corcoran to 12 years. He jailed the other two men for 25 years each.

Following a Supreme Court ruling in February 2012 which ruled that the type of search warrant used in the investigation was unconstitutional the Court of Criminal Appeal overturned these convictions and ordered a retrial.

The original trial lasted 66 days and was the longest criminal trial in Irish legal history.

Mr Costello was arrested in January 2012 after returning to Ireland from The Philippines, on foot of an International Arrest Warrant.

The trial revolved around three main points of evidence: DNA tests, CCTV footage and mobile phone tracking. Using call trace data from service providers gardaí drew up charts showing the times, duration and general location of mobile phone calls between a small group of numbers during the robbery.

These numbers had been generated out of the so-called “purple” phone, which was identified as the only phone used in the Dublin mountains on the night of the kidnapping.

It was the State's case that Corcoran acted as scout on the night, driving ahead of the van that took the family into the mountains. Farrelly was alleged to have been the organiser of the raid while Mr Costello was alleged to have been the van driver.

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