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Two Co Armagh men found guilty of threatening to rape and kill taxi driver

Two Co Armagh men have been found guilty of threatening to rape and kill a taxi driver before making off with a night’s takings in November 2016.

Robert Tasker, 26, and his co-accused, Antoin McCooey, 25, both from St Patrick’s Park in Cullyhanna, were convicted by a jury of seven men and five women at Newry Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday).

The trial, which last several days, heard testimony from taxi driver Paul Kelly, who said he feared for his life as he took the defendants from Dundalk to Cullyhanna.

The pair threatened to rape and kill Mr Kelly in the grounds of St Patrick’s Church in Cullyhanna, brandishing a Stanley blade and screwdriver as the terrified driver begged for his life.

Struck with vivid memories of the night, Mr Kelly was understandably emotional as he gave his evidence, telling the court and watching jury, how he thought he was going to die.

Tasker and McCooey then made off but not before stealing around €120 from Mr Kelly’s nightly takings.

Just before lunch Judge Melody McReynolds sent the jury out to deliberate on their verdict before returning around 4.30pm to deliver their verdicts.

The two men were found guilty by majority verdicts of all four charges against them.

Judge McReynolds denied the pair bail as she contested that there was a very real flight risk for both.

They will return to Newry Crown Court for sentencing on June 18.

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