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Man loses his appeal over tiger kidnapping

A man jailed for involvement in an £85,000 tiger kidnapping plot has failed to have his conviction overturned.

Stephen Paul McStravick (40) was found guilty of falsely imprisoning the partner and young son of a Brinks Ireland employee two years ago.

He challenged that verdict by claiming the trial judge erred in law in convicting him on those two counts yet acquitting him of other alleged offences.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the Co Down man’s case after finding the outcome was safe.

McStravick was jailed for two and a half years in June.

The trial heard how five masked men, armed with a sawn-off shotgun and two handguns, took hostage the partner and young son of a Brinks Ireland worker from their Co Down home in the early hours of May 28, 2008.

The worker was handed several bin bags, told to go to his work the next day and fill them with cash. The gang also handed him a bullet and told him there were two more — one for his partner and one for his four-year-old son.

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Co-accused Michael Clarke (30), of Upper Whiterock Road, Belfast, was convicted of robbery.

McStravick, whose exact address has been banned from being reported, was linked to the offence by sandwich and sweet wrappers found in his wheelie bin which had been bought for the captive boy.

He was acquitted of the robbery, Clarke was found not guilty of false imprisonment and both men were cleared of charges of kidnapping the family.

The trial judge said he took account of the fact both men were “secondary parties” to the kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Opening McStravick's appeal before Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and Lord Justices Higgins and Girvan, Orlando Pownall QC argued the guilty verdict against his client was unsafe.

He argued there was “no logical basis” to conclude that McStravick knew about the false imprisonment but was ignorant of the earlier kidnapping and robbery.

But the judges ruled that the appeal should be dismissed.

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