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Ham-burglar Infamous Tiger kidnapper Jason Kavanagh back on the streets after serving time for €2.28m heist

Jailed for a cruel tiger kidnapping that left a young family in torment ... now Kavanagh is out of his open prison and happily munching muffins

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Tiger kidnapper Jason gobbling down his hash browns.

Tiger kidnapper Jason gobbling down his hash browns.

Tiger kidnapper Jason gobbling down his hash browns.

One of Ireland's most notorious tiger kidnapper's celebrated his release from prison this week by wolfing down several McDonald's breakfasts - within an hour of getting out.

The Sunday World looked on as thug Jason Kavanagh - who served 12 years for his role in the horrific €2.28m ­Richardson family tiger raid - was ­released from Loughan House open prison at 8.25 on Tuesday morning.

After hugging a family member at the gates, the notorious raider made a beeline for the McDonald's outlet in Cavan town - less than an hour away - where he gobbled down McMuffins and hash browns while standing in the outlet's car park.

Kavanagh's hungry nature was a key factor in gardaí tying him to one of the most horrific tiger raids to ever take place in Ireland.

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Kavanagh feasting in the
car park.

Kavanagh feasting in the car park.

Kavanagh feasting in the car park.

 

The 46-year-old, of Corduff Avenue, Blanchardstown, was part of the merciless gang that kidnapped the family of Securicor worker Paul Richardson in March 2005.

The gang took Paul's wife and their two teenage sons into the Dublin Mountains and held them there at gunpoint overnight.

Other gang members held him at home until the next morning when he was told to go to work and deliver company cash to a drop-off point. Kavanagh denied the charges of falsely imprisoning the Richardsons at Ashcroft, Raheny, on the night of March 13 and 14 and the robbery of €2.28m from Paul Richardson and Securicor Security Services Ireland Ltd on March 14, 2005.

Marie Richardson told the trial that she was in her home with her son Kevin (then aged 13) when they heard a knock on the door. She assumed it was her husband who had gone to pick up son Ian from football.

When she opened the door four masked men forced their way into the house.

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Kavanagh gets a big hug on his release from jail this week.

Kavanagh gets a big hug on his release from jail this week.

Kavanagh gets a big hug on his release from jail this week.

 

One grabbed her by the throat and forced her up against the wall before she and her son were led into the sitting room.

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The men brought in a box with an Uzi submachine gun, revolver, knife and Polaroid camera. A short time later Mr Richardson and Ian (then 17) arrived home and were also brought into the sitting room.

Ian had a panic attack and had to be ­given a paper bag to breath into. One of the raiders, armed with the revolver, took Mr Richardson into a back room and told him what they wanted him to do.

He later told gardaí the man seemed to have an intimate knowledge of Securicor procedures and terminology, such as "buster buttons". He also had either a Securicor walkie- talkie or a Garda frequency scanner.

Mr Richardson agreed to do what they said and Polaroid pictures were taken of two raiders pointing their guns at the family.

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Kavanagh strolls out of the open prison after his release.

Kavanagh strolls out of the open prison after his release.

Kavanagh strolls out of the open prison after his release.

They were given to Mr Richardson to prove to his co-workers that his family were in danger.

The raiders took Mrs Richardson and her sons to a secluded area called Cloon Wood in Co Wicklow, leaving Mr Richardson to spend the night captive in his home.

At one point in the night the raiders allowed him to speak to his wife via the so-called "purple phone". The next morning two raiders took her and her sons up a path in the woods, prior to their release, and bound their wrists with cable ties.

When the men got a call to say the €2.28m had been deposited they left.

The family managed to free themselves using a small knife that was attached to Kevin's key ring.

Meanwhile, Mr Richardson, who had gone to work early, got his work colleagues to help him carry out the job for the gang by showing them the Polaroids.

After dropping off the cash he drove slowly towards Mullingar as he was expecting a call on a walkie-talkie from the raiders to say his wife and children were safe.

He became increasingly agitated and when his colleagues finally raised the alarm and pulled the van over he was in a state of severe shock. When Securicor told him over the radio that his family were unharmed he collapsed on the roadside.

Gardaí investigating the horror raid conclusively identified ­Kavanagh as one of the raiders after obtaining DNA from ­samples of drool he deposited in a makeshift mask he wore while storming the Richardson family home.

Kavanagh's profile was recovered from the face cover - made from a pillowcase - after his saliva was left on it when he fell asleep in an upstairs bedroom.

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Parents Marie and Paul Richardson and their sons faced a nightmare.

Parents Marie and Paul Richardson and their sons faced a nightmare.

Parents Marie and Paul Richardson and their sons faced a nightmare.

 

He was jailed for 25 years in 2009 but was freed in June 2012 when the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed that conviction.

During his retrial in 2013, gardaí were unable to use the DNA sample - which had matched the sample from the mask - taken during his first arrest.

This was because his first arrest was made under a 'Section 29' warrant, which was later ruled "unconstitutional" by the Supreme Court.

Investigators knew Kavanagh's conviction would be heavily reliant on obtaining a fresh DNA sample, in order to prove it matched the DNA on the pillowcase. They did so after an undercover officer tracked him to a restaurant, where he had chicken wings and a bottle of water.

After Kavanagh left, the officer secured the bottle and the box with the chicken wing bones and sent them to Garda HQ - and a full DNA match was made to the sample on the pillowcase.

Sentencing Kavanagh to 15 years in prison at the conclusion of his 50-day retrial in 2013, Judge Martin Nolan said he had played a serious role in a cold-blooded crime that involved the threat of extreme violence.

He said the gang were seriously professional criminals who had executed the robbery with military precision.

In 2018, following a series of court battles, quashed verdicts and retrials, four other members of the gang were finally brought to justice for the roles they played in the horror robbery.

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