Staff tell of terror during Post Office raid

A JURY of eight men and four women at Kilkenny Circuit Court have heard evidence of a violent post office robbery in the city centre over four years ago.

A JURY of eight men and four women at Kilkenny Circuit Court have heard evidence of a violent post office robbery in the city centre over four years ago.

Philip Kerfoot, 172 Captain Road and David Atkinson, 169 Windmill Park, Crumlin both deny robbery and having a firearm in their possession with intent at High Street on September 21, 2009.

Prosecuting barrister Brian O’Shea told the jury that on the date in question a group of men entered the post office. “Some of them were armed with firearms or imitation firearms. They shouted and threatened staff and stole around €11,000 and left. They made their getaway in a vehicle that was waiting outside and drove to Nunico Road where they transferred vehicles.

“The State’s case will be that there is compelling evidence against the two men before the court,” said Mr O’Shea.

Staff terror

Jim Nugent, a post office clerk based in High Street told the court that he took up duty at 8.45am on that Friday morning.

“I was working away when I heard a noise and saw someone jump over the first counter when you come in the door. There was a lot of commotion,” he said.

“The men were wearing balaclavas and there was somone in the queue covered up with a balaclava. I think that they were wearing gloves as well. It didn’t last long and they left. I felt shaken up after it,” he said.

Alice Farrell, who also works at the post office explained how on the morning in question a courier had come in with Lottery tickets.

“I had to sign for them. I closed the hatch and turned my back to leave the package at the back window.

“I turned around and there was a man standing at the counter and he had a leg over the hatch. He jumped over the counter and had a balaclava. There were a lot of people roaring and shouting in the queue. A colleague roared to moved out of the way. I was petrified. I was afraid of my life. There were people guarding the door and there were two more men in behind the counter.

“They did three tills and ransacked all the drawers to get the cash and they stuffed it into bags. I was in bits. I had to be brought to St Lukes by ambulance and had difficulty breathing,” she said.

Joanne Prendergast, another staff member said that she saw two guys behind the counter and taking monies. “I heard a voice saying ‘Calm down, calm down. We will be gone in a minute.’ I was crouched down. I was crying and shaking.”

John Larkin said that he saw a man inside the front door patrolling the scene with a gun.

Siobhan Walsh said that she was working when she heard shouting and noise. “I saw a man climbing over the counter. I couldn’t see his face. I ran to the bottom counter and saw another nab behind the counter. I didn’t see them holding any guns or weapons.”

Aoife Phelan outlined how she saw a man rush in the door who was aggressive and shouting. She outlined how she saw two men behind the counter and activated the alarm button.

“There was a lot of shouting and confusion. It seemed like they were there for a long time but looking back it was probably only a minute or two.”

Cormac Hickey who was working said he saw two masked raiders behind the counter and another person outside the counter at the door. “He seemed to have a small handgun in his right hand. I would estimate that there was 10 to 12 customers in the post office at the time.”

Linda Shore, who worked as an advisor for Post Bank at the time said that she was out on the floor of the post office when the raid took place. “I am out on the floor to generate business. My function was sales and involved engaging with people. I was pottering around at my desk when I became very aware of commotion coming up the street. My back was to the glass window and I was facing the cash counter.

“I was very aware of a guy up on the counter. He looked like a monkey. While I was looking I was aware of someone saying ‘Get down, get down, get down.’ There was a gun pointed at us. There was a man between the door and the counter and he had a black handgun. I was down on my hunkers and there was people around me.

“There were people around me and it was important to me that that they were okay. There was one girl directly beside me and there were three or four elderly people. There was one woman who had difficulty breathing.

“They were wearing balaclavas. It was very intimidating. I picked up Dublin accents from them. I am originally from the northside of Dublin. “

John Thompson, who was branch manager at the time said that he was in the strong room when the raid took place. “There is a security hatch and I looked through it and I could see a gun being pointed down the office. I have a security hatch and CCTV to see what is going on. The room is built with steel and the security hatch has bullet proof glass.” Mr Thompson told the jury after the robbery a team of auditors came and determined that €11,100 was stolen.

“The staff were very shaken and Alice Farrell had to be taken to hospital,” he said.

Evidence was heard that gardai received a call to the station at 9.30am reporting an incident at the post office. The case continues at Kilkenny Circuit Court.