Belfast Telegraph

£22m raiders boasted of short jail term
Gang made sandwiches inside hostage's home.

By Ben Lowry
27 December 2004

The Northern Bank heist gang boasted about the short jail sentences they would receive if caught, according to a woman taken hostage by the robbers.

Karen McMullan, whose husband Kevin was one of the two bank officials taken and ordered to carry out the £22m theft, was later abandoned in freezing conditions in Drumkeeragh Forest near the Mourne Mountains.

The McMullans, who have no children, live in Loughinisland in Co Down, where they were taken hostage on Sunday, December 19, less than a week before Christmas.

Speaking through a friend, Mrs McMullan was quoted in the Sunday Life saying: "I knew how serious the gang were when they put a gun to Kevin's head, and threatened to kill us if we didn't co-operate.

"But when one of them said they were not worried about serving 15 years in jail for the robbery, or for killing us, we knew how ruthless they were."

Mr McMullan was ordered to go to work as normal on Monday, while the cash was taken.

Mrs McMullan said the gang were "very calm" while in the house, making tea and sandwiches.

"Instead of getting one of the hostages to do any cooking, it was they who made the food," she recalled.

Mrs McMullan also explained how she stumbled out of Drumkeeragh Forest.

"When I was dropped off, I hadn't a clue where I was. The only thing I could think of was to keep on walking. I was desperate to get out of the forest.

"But I was only able to do it because I decided to head for lights I could see in the distance."

The other bank official taken hostage, 24-year-old Chris Ward from Poleglass, is reported to have spent the last week with relatives because he is unable to return to his home which has remained a crime scene.

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