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Gran Prix driver 'Getaway gran' quizzed by cops on suspicion of ferrying two men from burglary scene

B&B owner says she was just taking men on 160km trip to get heroin

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B&B owner Therese King was questioned by gardai

B&B owner Therese King was questioned by gardai

B&B owner Therese King was questioned by gardai

Meet the 'getaway gran' quizzed by cops on suspicion of ferrying two men from the scene of a burglary.

B&B owner Therese King (71) from Birr, Co Offaly was arrested by gardai last week on suspicion of driving a getaway car from the scene of a daylight break-in at a home in Mullingar, Co Westmeath on September 19.

But the pensioner this week told the Sunday World that she had been duped by her passengers - saying they had convinced her to bring them on the 160km round-trip by telling her they needed to pick up drugs.

"It just seems that I'm taking all the blame," the pensioner told the Sunday World.

"It's like they're saying I was the cause but I'm not guilty of anything."

Asked to explain further, Therese said she had believed she was driving the men so they could pick up their drugs.

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King says her car was a write-off before the incident

King says her car was a write-off before the incident

King says her car was a write-off before the incident

"I was driving them to get heroin.

Crashed

"But I'll explain the whole thing next week after I speak with my solicitor.

"I still haven't got my car back from the guards.

"But it's a write-off anyway … it was crashed two days before the magic day.

"I crashed it."

Therese continued, speaking of her decision to drive the men to Mullingar: "I was just helping them out."

Asked whether the gardai have told her if she is to be charged, Therese said: "Well I was released without charge."

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Therese King talks to our reporter Patrick O’Connell at her home

Therese King talks to our reporter Patrick O’Connell at her home

Therese King talks to our reporter Patrick O’Connell at her home

Therese continued that in her 71 years this is her first time to have come to the attention of the gardai.

"Not even a parking ticket," she said.

Therese was arrested on Thursday last week on the same day her passengers, a 45-year-old and a 28-year-old both from Birr, were also picked up by gardai.

The burglary happened at about 2pm on Saturday, September 19 when a number of people broke into a private home in the Ballinea area of Mullingar.

The raiders then searched through the property and stole a number of personal items before taking the keys to the homeowner's car and driving off.

On Thursday last week detectives carried out several searches in Birr after identifying Therese as the suspected getaway driver and the two younger men as the burglars.

Drugs

It's understood gardai also seized items linked to the investigation for examination.

Detectives suspect Therese was involved in driving her two younger associates to and from the scene of the aggravated burglary.

They are also investigating whether the pair may have used Therese to drive them on previous occasions.

Therese and the two men were held for almost 48 hours before being released.

A source said: "These two lads are more known for drugs offences, but it's suspected that from time to time they carry out burglaries and robberies.

Plans

"It is a strange dynamic in that you have essentially three different [unrelated] generations suspected of involvement in this crime."

The Sunday World understands a key aspect of the investigation to determine whether Therese will be charged will be in determining what level of knowledge, if any, she had of the men's plans.

A garda spokeswoman said: "Gardai attached to the Detective Branch in Mullingar carried out a number of searches in the Midlands on Thursday, October 1, 2020.

"A woman, aged in her 70s, and two men, aged in their 40s and 20s, were arrested during the course of these searches.

"On Saturday, all three people were released without charge.

"A file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to this matter."

Appeal

Gardai are continuing their appeal to the public for any information in relation to this matter.

"Anyone who was in the Ballinea area of Mullingar, or any person that availed of the car park facilities at the Royal Canal, Grange South Mullingar between 12pm and 2pm on Saturday, September 19, 2020, is asked to contact Mullingar garda station on 044 938 4000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station," the spokeswoman added.