Man threatened to kill woman as he hijacked her car
A Dubliner accused of threatening to kill a woman while hijacking her car and falsely imprisoning her after the alleged robbery of a bookies has gone on trial at the Special Criminal Court this morning.
Trevor Byrne (41) of Cappagh Road, Finglas West came before the court on Tuesday, April 13, after the High Court made an order in September transferring his trial from the Circuit Criminal Court to the three-judge Special Criminal Court.
Mr Byrne was charged with five offences in 2011 arising out of an armed robbery at BoyleSports in Swords the previous year, during Cheltenham Race Week.
He is accused of robbing a man, a Mr James Robertson, of €1,490 at BoyleSports, Applewood Village, on March 19, 2010, and of possession of a firearm with intent to commit robbery on the same occasion.
He is also charged with seizing a vehicle by threat of force and falsely imprisoning a woman, a Ms Helen Leigh, at nearby Thornleigh Avenue, to the rear of the bookies, on the same day. Mr Byrne is further charged with threatening to kill her at an unknown location between Thornleigh Avenue and Kilshane Cross in Co Dublin, that day. The accused has denied all of the charges.
Prosecuting barrister Mr Shane Costelloe SC said that it is the State's case that Mr Byrne and another male went into the bathroom of BoyleSports at around 5.40pm the day and stayed there for approximately 35 minutes.
Mr Costelloe said that the pair then emerged from the bathroom brandishing firearms, "causing everyone to take cover".
The barrister said that there was then "an interaction" with Mr Robertson, an employee, and the two men, which ended in €1,490 being handed over.
Mr Costelloe said that a dropped mobile phone was found at the bookies' with 15 missed calls on it.
He said that the pair then attempted to leave by the front door but found it closed and left the building by the rear, leading them onto Thornleigh Avenue, where they jumped in front of Ms Leigh's car with "what appeared to be firearms" and got in, taking her with them.
Mr Costelloe said that "at least" one of the males threatened to kill Ms Leigh before they left her on the road and made off.
Mr Byrne is represented by Mr John D Fitzgerald SC and the trial continues at the non-jury court before Mr Justice Michael McGrath, Ms Justice Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Ms Justice Marie Keane.
The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.