Suspected hitman in fear of his life flees to safety of prison cell in wake of hotel murder
A member of the gang believed to have murdered David Byrne voluntarily presented himself to prison authorities over fears that he will be targeted in retaliatory attacks.
The man, in his early 20s, is one of the Hutch mob currently embroiled in a deadly feud with the Kinahan drugs cartel.
He is suspected of being one of the gunmen disguised as members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) who entered the hotel with assault rifles before shooting Byrne dead and injuring two other people.
The individual was already being sought on foot of a criminal damage warrant, and turned himself in on February 12, four days after the murder of Eddie Hutch Snr (59).
He is being held in the protection unit of Cloverhill Prison. Authorities there were subsequently told by gardai that there were threats against his life.
A source said the man's name has been circulating in the underworld since the attacks.
"His name and the names of a few other of the lads who might be involved have been doing the rounds," said the source.
"It's a case of handing themselves in to jail, where they think they're safe, before the Kinahans get to them."
Another associate of the Hutch gang also surrendered himself to gardai on a theft warrant on February 6, the day after Byrne (33) died in a hail of bullets.
The man, who is not suspected of involvement in the feud, is believed to have taken the decision due to safety fears over tit-for-tat attacks between the two gangs.
Gardai hope to make arrests in the murder of David Byrne, who was gunned down during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Airport Hotel in Drumcondra on February 5.
Gardai have also identified most of the six-man hit team they believe stormed the packed hotel armed with handguns and AK-47s.
A source said that despite their identities being known, gathering sufficient evidence in order to bring charges and secure a conviction is a "patient process".
"Authorities are now confident they know the identities of the six men involved in the murder of David Byrne, and arrests are expected to be made," said a source.
"As well as the obvious point of wanting to bring people to justice in relation to the murder, it is also a priority to recover the weapons that were used in the killing.
"As it stands, these fully automatic weapons are still on the city's streets, and they have to be taken out of the hands of these criminals before they can cause any further bloodshed."
CCTV footage was obtained from the hotel and viewed by senior officers following the attack, with the clear images greatly helping detectives with their investigation.
The hit team's main target was Daniel Kinahan, the new head of the drug-dealing cartel who acts as a boxing promoter and manager for several fighters.
However, he had left the function room where the weigh-in was taking place moments before the shooting began and managed to flee the scene.
One of the gunmen is believed to have been present at the wake of Eddie Hutch Snr on Thursday afternoon.
Despite the heavy garda presence, the alleged assassin mingled with crowds outside the family home before paying his final respects inside.
Taxi driver Eddie Hutch Snr was gunned down only three days after Byrne was murdered in what is believed to have been a retaliation for the Crumlin criminal's death.
A four-man hit squad wearing balaclavas entered the innocent man's home on Poplar Row, Ballybough, and blasted him several times in the face and body.
Two of the men have since been formally warned by gardai that there are threats against their lives. Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch was also notified by officers from Clontarf Garda Station last week that there was "credible intelligence" that his life was in danger.
He has been travelling between Dublin and the Dutch city of Eindhoven in recent weeks, and was seen at his brother's funeral last Friday sporting a grey wig and a baseball cap.