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Monday 19 November 2018

Feud hit team's helper was also held on Hutch killing

Martin Aylmer has been jailed for three years and nine months for his part in the murder of Michael Barr. Photo: Collins Courts
Martin Aylmer has been jailed for three years and nine months for his part in the murder of Michael Barr. Photo: Collins Courts

A Dublin criminal jailed for helping the Kinahan cartel organise the murder of Michael Barr is also suspected of involvement in another feud murder.

The Herald can reveal that Martin Aylmer (31) - who was yesterday jailed for almost four years - has been arrested by detectives investigating the murder of Eddie Hutch Snr.

Mr Hutch (58), a brother of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, was gunned down at his home in Poplar Row, Ballybough, on February 8, 2016, in retaliation for the Regency Hotel killing of David Byrne three days earlier.

Phones

Detectives believe that Aylmer helped the four-man hit team behind the murder. He was questioned in January last year about his suspected role in the murder plot.

"Gardai believe he played a similar role in the Hutch murder as he did with the Barr killing, in supplying mobile phones and other logistics for the hit team," a source said.

Aylmer, of Casino Park, Marino, Dublin 3, was detained on suspicion of being in possession of ammunition linked to the Hutch murder but was later released without charge.

Yesterday, he was sentenced to three years and nine months by the Special Criminal Court in what is believed to be one of the first convictions of its kind.

Mr Barr (35), the manager of the Sunset House in Dublin's north inner city, was shot seven times by a masked gunman at the pub on April 24, 2016.

His murder was directly linked to the deadly Hutch-Kinahan feud which has so far claimed up to 18 lives.

Aylmer's conviction is understood to be the first time a person has been successfully prosecuted for this offence under organised crime legislation introduced in 2006.

Eddie Hutch Snr
Eddie Hutch Snr

The court heard that gardai recovered a mobile phone beside the partially burned-out getaway car after the murder.

CCTV footage later showed Aylmer buying the phone in Dublin's Ilac Shopping Centre two days before Mr Barr's death.

The offences occurred between April 23 and 25, 2016.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that it appeared the actionable assistance rendered by Aylmer was not at the higher end of the scale.

The judge pointed out that while the provision of any assistance to a criminal organisation was a grave matter, Aylmer did not approach this in a covert or disguised manner.

"His unsophisticated approach left him open to identification and demonstrated an absence of calculation or guile," he added.

Michael Barr
Michael Barr

He said it could not be established that Aylmer knew he was making a contribution to the crime of murder, and there was no evidence on his part of moving firearms.

However, the judge said it must have been apparent to him that he was assisting in some serious criminal activity.

Mitigation

He said the maximum sentence was 15 years, but the headline sentence in this case was five years' imprisonment.

He said the most significant mitigating factor in Aylmer's sentence was his early guilty plea and for this he was entitled to "a straight discount of 25pc".

Another factor in mitigation, the judge said, was the fact he was a relatively young man without a serious criminal record and that future rehabilitation remained a live issue in this case.

Aylmer has two previous convictions for minor public order issues which Mr Justice Hunt said were not relevant.

He sentenced him to three years and nine months in prison with one year suspended. "It is appropriate he should serve the last portion of his sentence in the community," the judge said.

He added that the court had already expressed its condolences to the deceased's family at the conclusion of a previous trial. Eamonn Cumberton (30), of Mountjoy Street, Dublin 7, was jailed for life by the Special Criminal Court in January after being found guilty of the murder of Mr Barr.

Speaking outside the Criminal Courts of Justice yesterday, Chief Superintendent Sean Ward said he was "precluded to some extent" from commenting as there was still a live investigation into the murder of Mr Barr and that gardai "still have two individuals to speak to".

"This is a significant case in conviction for the community in Dublin's north-east inner city which has suffered considerably over the last number of years as a result of this criminal activity," he said.

"It also demonstrates that individuals who participate in activities that facilitate the commission of a serious crime by a criminal organisation will be fully investigated, and every effort made by An Garda Siochana to get the evidence we require to bring them before the courts, as happened in today's case.

"There is no doubt that individuals that engage in serious crime do look for individuals to support them logistically, and that would include accessing mobile phones, as was today's case. It is therefore important that people considering engaging in that activity should think twice as we will pursue those individuals and bring them before the courts."

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