herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Warrant for man who missed court over death threat

Keith Murtagh failed to show due to a threat on his life
Keith Murtagh failed to show due to a threat on his life

A bench warrant has been issued for the arrest of a man whose life is under threat and who failed to turn up in court to answer road traffic charges.

Keith Murtagh (31) is believed to have been the intended target of a gunman who mistakenly killed innocent victim Martin O'Rourke (24) in the north inner city three months ago.

Murtagh twice failed to show up in court, and on those occasions his lawyers said this was because of threats against his life.

The accused was due to appear before Blanchardstown District Court this week to answer a number of road traffic charges.

Murtagh is closely linked to one of the gangs involved in the Hutch-Kinahan feud.

He is charged with driving without a licence and providing a false name and address to gardai.

The alleged incident took place during a traffic check at Nangor Road in Clondalkin last April 4.

Defence lawyer Ciaran MacLoughlin said Murtagh was not before the court.

Warned

Judge David McHugh issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

This is the third occasion that Murtagh, with an address at Mariner's Port, Sheriff Street, Dublin 1, has failed to turn up.

The court previously heard from defence counsel Jennifer Jackson, who said that Murtagh had been warned by gardai that his life was under serious threat.

On a previous court date, she had asked for the case to be adjourned in Murtagh's absence and for the adjourned date not to be read out in open court.

When the case came before Judge McHugh this week, Mr MacLoughlin said there was no appearance from Murtagh and the judge issued the bench warrant for his arrest.

Murtagh has not yet indicated a plea to the charges.

He is regarded as a key associate of Derek 'Del Boy' Hutch, who is the brother of Gary Hutch and the nephew of Eddie Hutch, both of whom have been shot dead by the Kinahan gang as part of a bitter feud.

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