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After they'd gone we just held each other and cried, glad we were alive; Postmaster tells of ordeal at hands of armed gang.

Byline: Carl Butler

A POSTMASTER yesterday relived the terrifying ordeal when he and his wife were attacked by masked raiders.

Holyhead subpostmaster Frank Jones recounted to a jury his wife's ordeal and how they were just glad to escape alive.

Mr Jones, a postmaster at Church Terrace PO Holyhead for 20 years, was punched and terrorised during two raids on his premises, but it was the threats to his wife which upset him when he was questioned at Chester Crown Court yesterday.

The two robberies at Church Terrace PO nettedmore than pounds 160,000. Five Liverpool men all deny conspiracy, with others unknown, to rob 19 sub post offices between May 2000 and November 2001, using force or fear of force against postmasters, their staff and family, to steal cash.

They are: Stephen Barlow, aged 38 of Lambourne Road, Norris Green; John Barlow, 40, of Eaton Road, West Derby; Alan Motion 35, of Keir Hardy Avenue, Bootle; Paul Molloy, 36, of Haggerston Road, Liverpool; and Duane Trussell 39, of Chepstow Road, Walton.

The first robbery at Holyhead was on May 20, 2000, said Peter Hughes QC, prosecuting. Mr Jones had left his home in Trearddur Bay on Saturday morning to open his post office and shop.

As he went through the back door, two masked men ``jumped from the area of the toilet.''

Mr Jones said: ``It was all arms and blows. I felt a pain in my chest. I was hyperventilating, I could not get my breath. I thought I was having a heart attack. One of them said `I have got a knife.' Mr Jones opened the safe. After the raiders stole more than pounds 97,000 they bound Mr Jones' handsand taped his mouth.

Less than a year later, on April 27, Mr Jones and his wife Mona were at home in Trearddur Bay. Mr Jones went to put out the milk bottles when he saw a man come running at him. The hooded raider was quickly joined by two other masked men, said Mr Hughes and they overpowered Mr Jones.

When he was ushered into the living room, he could see the shape of his wife on the sofa. They told Mr Jones his wife was all right she had just has ``a bit of a slap.'' Mr Jones was told his wife would be in the boot, bound by tape and with a pillow slip over her head.

. At the post office, Mr Jones was taken inside and his wife left in the boot. The safe was opened. ``After they'd gone Mona and I just held each other and consoled each other and cried, glad we were alive,'' said Mr Jones.

The case continues.

CAPTION(S):

NIGHTMARE: Frank Jones, right, arrives at Chester Crown Court yesterday. `A knife was produced and they threatened to ram it through me,' he said
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2002
Words:475
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