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Saturday 23 September 2017

Regency murder accused will not be extradited because he is dying

Kevin Murray aka 'Flatcap'
Kevin Murray aka 'Flatcap'

A man wanted for his alleged role in the Regency Hotel murder has been discharged by a judge in Northern Ireland after extradition proceedings were brought to an end because he is dying.

Kevin Murray (47), from Co Tyrone, was wanted in connection with the killing of David Byrne in February last year.

However, extradition proceedings were ended at Belfast Recorder's Court due to Murray being diagnosed with rapidly deteriorating and terminal Motor Neurone Disease.

Her Honour Judge Patricia Smyth said: "I'm satisfied the only appropriate course I can take is to discharge the requested person."

Byrne (34), from Crumlin, was shot dead at the Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016, when masked men dressed as gardai opened fire with automatic guns during a boxing weigh-in.

The murder escalated a deadly feud between members of the Kinahan cartel and Hutch gang, which has so far claimed 11 lives.

Murray was detained last September under a European Arrest Warrant issued by authorities here, for alleged offences of murder, possession of a firearm with intent and possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances.

It was previously claimed in court that he had stayed overnight at the hotel in preparation for his alleged role in the shooting. Gardai investigating the killing allege Murray can be clearly identified on CCTV footage and photographic evidence.

Unjust

Another man, 25-year-old Patrick Hutch, of Champions Avenue in the north inner city, has been charged with the murder.

Lawyers for Murray opposed his extradition by claiming it was unlikely he would ever stand trial because his Motor Neurone Disease is so severe.

They argued that it would be unjust and oppressive to send a man receiving end-of-life care to the Republic. Medical opinion backed their claim his condition was rapidly worsening and will lead to eventual death.

Murray is completely bedridden, suffering from respiratory difficulties and being fed through a tube, the court heard.

He is unable to talk and has limited power in his arms and legs. Counsel for the Irish State accepted that his extradition is currently barred but sought a three-month adjournment to see if there is any improvement in his condition.

However, Judge Smyth said: "It's clear from the doctor's report of March 2017 that the requested person is dying of Motor Neurone Disease."

Confirming the decision to discharge Murray, she acknowledged he was being sought for prosecution over a murder and said a fresh extradition application could be made if medical opinion changes in future.

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