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Cartel's kill plot is laid bare as 'foot soldier' admits role in Hutch hit bid

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Mark Capper

Mark Capper

Mark Capper

A 31-year-old petty criminal became involved in a sinister plot by the Kinahan cartel to murder their arch enemy Patrick 'Patsy' Hutch because of the influence the cartel-aligned 'Mr Flashy' gang had on him.

The Special Criminal Court heard yesterday that Mark Capper, of Cappagh Green, Finglas, "poured cold water on" and withdrew from a plan to murder 'The Monk's' brother 'Patsy' Hutch three days before it was due to take place.

Capper is closely linked with associates of mobster 'Mr Flashy', including his younger brother Scott Capper (30), and is suspected of becoming involved in the plot through these connections.

"He isn't a serious criminal by any means and would have been enlisted because he was completely broke and down on his luck, but also because his links to Flashy's crew meant he could be trusted," a source said.

"Mark Capper has 65 previous convictions but they are mainly for minor offences and despite being a big lad, he was never known for involvement in violence.

Scuppered

"He was viewed by more senior criminals as being a bit soft or slow because he had gone to a special needs school.

"In fact, before Capper pulled out of the murder plot, other criminals involved in it were raising serious concerns about his capabilities in relation to it."

Mark's brother Scott, who is a key member of the Kinahan-aligned 'Mr Flashy' gang, is serving three-and-a-half years in jail for taking part in two savage assaults in Dublin city centre pubs.

Yesterday, the non-jury court heard evidence of how the Kinahan gang operates a hierarchical structure, with compartmentalised "sub-cells" acting independently of one another.

The arrival of Storm Emma scuppered the gang's first bid to murder Hutch, the court also heard.

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Cartel kingpin Daniel Kinahan

Cartel kingpin Daniel Kinahan

Cartel kingpin Daniel Kinahan

Mark Capper pleaded guilty to having knowledge of the existence of a criminal organisation and participating in activities intended to facilitate the commission of a serious offence by that criminal organisation, or any of its members, to wit the murder of Patrick Hutch within the State between February 1 and March 10, 2018, both dates inclusive.

Detective Superintendent Dave Gallagher told the Special Criminal Court that he was satisfied the criminal organisation that targeted Hutch was the Kinahan gang - the first time the murderous international gang has been named publicly by gardai in court.

He said the Kinahan gang was a criminal organisation involved in serious offences, including murderous feuds, and drug and firearms trafficking.

Det Supt Gallagher told senior counsel for the DPP Sean Gillane that the gang developed sub-cells with members who were given activities to carry out by the higher level. He said there were further hierarchical structures within the different cells, while each group would not be aware of what the other sub-cells were doing.

Det Supt Gallagher told the court the sub-cells operated to "benefit and enhance the capabilities" of the criminal organisation.

The cell assigned to murder Hutch involved up to 10 people, the detective told the court. It involved a ruse to lure him from his home and included participants such as a spotter to give the hit team a signal, and the gunman, who would be taken to the scene on a motorbike.

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Patrick 'Patsy' Hutch. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Patrick 'Patsy' Hutch. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Patrick 'Patsy' Hutch. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Det Supt Gallagher agreed with counsel for the defence, Seamus Clarke SC, that Capper was a "foot soldier" in the organisation.

He was one of a number of cell operatives put under surveillance by the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the court heard. Audio surveillance of a vehicle recorded Capper asking Michael Burns - who has also pleaded guilty to the same offence - for a loan of €50, which he was refused.

Capper was heard telling Burns he wouldn't be sitting in the back of the car if he had any money, the court heard.

Det Supt Gallagher told the court that this shed light on Capper's financial motivation.

On February 27, 2018, Capper was heard on audio expressing concerns about the plan and also about the garda protection post at Champions Avenue in Dublin, near Hutch's home.

Det Supt Gallagher told Mr Gillane that Capper expressed a reluctance to carry out the murder and wanted more time. Mr Burns is heard telling Capper: "I don't think you are up for this pal, I genuinely don't." The original plan was scuppered because of Storm Emma, the attempted murder being postponed until March 10, 2018.

Det Supt Gallagher agreed with Mr Gillane that there were reservations expressed by other members of the gang about Capper's involvement. Mr Clarke told the court that Capper poured cold water on the plan and Det Supt Gallagher agreed the defendant had challenged it.

He added that Capper expressed concerns about feeling it was a bit rushed and about the time-frame. Mr Clarke said another member of the gang referred to Mr Capper as an "eejit". Capper pulled out of the attempted murder plans three days before the plot was foiled by gardai who swooped on the gang on March 10, 2018.

Det Supt Gallagher said Capper was not a subject of the investigation days before the attempted murder of Hutch as he was dissatisfied with the plan and others involved were dissatisfied with him.

The court heard Capper has 65 previous convictions and suffered from a drug problem. He was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age, had an IQ of 63 at 13 and attended a school for pupils with learning disabilities.

Dublin man Burns (43), of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of a criminal organisation contrary to Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 between February 1, 2018, and March 10, 2018, both dates inclusive, within the State with knowledge of the existence of a criminal organisation, participated in activities intending to facilitate the commission of a serious offence by a criminal organisation or any of its members, namely the murder of Mr Hutch.

A three-man "hit-for-hire team" was last year given combined jail time of 36-and-a-half years for their roles in the murder plot. Brothers Glen and Gary Thompson were each sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison, while Robert Browne was jailed for 11-and-a-half years for possessing weapons with intent to endanger life.