Northern Ireland

Ex-GAA player Tasker and McCooey deny taxi driver kidnap

Robbie Tasker
Image caption Robert Tasker, seen here playing for Armagh minors at Croke Park in 2009, denies all charges

The trial has begun of two men, one of them a former Armagh GAA player, for the kidnap and robbery of a taxi driver.

Robert Edward Tasker and Antion Eugene James McCooey deny kidnapping, robbing, threatening to kill and assaulting a Dundalk taxi driver.

The alleged incident happened in the early hours of 29 November 2016.

The accused live at separate addresses at St Patrick's Park in Cullyhanna.

A prosecution barrister told the jury of seven men and five women that the taxi driver picked up a fare that from a Chinese restaurant in Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland.

She said that two men, alleged to be Mr Tasker, 26, and 25-year-old Mr McCooey, got in to the taxi and paid 30 euros to be taken to Cullyhanna in County Armagh.

Mr Tasker, who is well known in GAA circles, then began speaking in highly sexualised terms from the back seat.

'Knife to throat'

The injured party told Mr McCooey that he felt uncomfortable about this and at that point the mood changed.

It is alleged that Mr Tasker then took out a stanley knife and put it to the injured party's neck, while Mr McCooey made stabbing motions with a screwdriver and demanded money.

The driver handed over 120 euros in takings. He alleges his passengers continued threatening to rape and murder him.

However, when a car passed the now parked taxi, the two men left and the taxi driver fled. The incident was then reported to the Garda (Irish police).

The case is being tried at Newry Crown Court, where the taxi driver will give his account of the incident on Wednesday.

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