A bank manager has said he had no choice but to hand over £26.5m to a gang because he firmly believed the raiders would shoot his kidnapped wife.
The ruthless gang had forced their way into Kevin McMullan’s Belfast home after one posed as a policeman and told him his sister had just been killed in a car crash.
The revelation came on the third day of the Cork Circuit Criminal Court trial of father and son, Timothy ‘Ted’ Cunningham (60) and Timothy John Cunningham, who deny laundering more than £3m of the proceeds of the 2004 Belfast robbery at Northern Bank.
Yesterday, Mr McMullan, who was assistant manager at the bank, said that he had no alternative but to obey the armed gang.
He was at home on the evening of December 19, 2004, with his wife, Kyran, when he saw a car coming into his driveway and a man getting out. “The man was dressed as a police officer. He told me there had been a car accident and my sister had been killed. I was asked to identify the body,” he said.
Mr McMullan said that when the man entered his house, suddenly other members of the gang appeared and forced their way in. “Guns were produced and a gun was put to the back of my head and to the back of my wife’s head,” he said.
“They told me that if I didn’t comply fully or if anything went wrong that my wife would be killed. They repeated that threat throughout the night.”
Ted Cunningham faces 20 charges of money laundering while his son, Timothy John Cunningham, faces four charges.
The State alleges that just over £4.9m passed through Ted Cunningham’s hands — £2.5m of which was recovered at Farran, Co Cork.
It is alleged £1.5m was disposed of “in panic” and £1.01m was dispersed, with gardai later recovering £605,320. The father and son have addresses in Farran, Co Cork, although Timothy John Cunningham now lives in Bandon. The State will allege that between January 18 and February 9, 2005, Ted Cunningham accepted four exchanges with a man driving a Northern Ireland-registered car.
Gardai claimed that Ted Cunningham told them he couldn’t sleep at night after discovering that the final consignment was comprised of apparently new Northern Bank notes.
The trial continues today.