A MAN accused of being part of an attempted £500,000 bank robbery claims he had no knowledge of a plot to kidnap its employees.
Michael Dunphy (45) is on trial at Sheffield Crown Court accused of four counts of kidnap and three counts of attempted robbery.
He is said to have been part of a gang of robbers who tried to take £500,000 from a branch of Barclays at Stag roundabout in November.
Three of the would-be robbers are said to have followed a Barclays employee from her home in a stolen Audi and kidnapped her, her seven-year-old daughter, and her colleagues Zoe Copley and Jo Blakey.
The gang are alleged to have forced two of the bank’s employees to open a safe before fleeing the scene empty-handed minutes before police officers arrived.
Dunphy claims he was facilitating the attempted robbery under duress and had no knowledge of the kidnapping.
Giving evidence, Dunphy said he thought the robbery was going to be a “hit and run”.
“It was a high-performance car, I thought it was going to be in and out and run away from the bank,” he said.
Asked if he had any idea of plans to kidnap a bank worker that morning, he said: “No, I did not.”
Dunphy said if he had known about such a plan, he would have “liked to have been able to believe he would have been able to stand up (to the robbers)”.
Dunphy said the other men were “angry with each other” following the failed robbery.
The jury was shown a wig which was found at Dunphy’s Manchester address when he was arrested — which the prosecution claim was used as a disguise in the robbery.
Dunphy said he had mail-ordered the wig for a Guys and Dolls-themed fancy dress party he was attending with his partner.
He refused to reveal the identities of the three men he said were responsible for the operation.
Asked why he had kept that information from the police, he said: “It’s not hard for information like that to be leaked in some way, shape or form.
“I don’t like to think...the threats, alone, since have been enough.”
Asked if he would ever change his mind and reveal their identities, he said: “No, it won’t change.”
The jury heard Dunphy was jailed in November 2011 for conspiracy to kidnap and the manslaughter of Paul Brady. He was released in 2016.
Dunphy denied he had been asked by those he said were responsible for the bank robbery about how they should kidnap the bank’s employees.
Under cross-examination from Mr Nicholas Campbell, Dunphy said the men carrying out the operation were working for a gang leader, referred to in the trial as “Mr Big”.
Dunphy said he would not be where he was now if not for Mr Big and his gang.
The trial continues.
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