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Gardaí close to charging driver in Barr murder as gunman gets jail for life

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Gardaí at the scene of Michael Barr’s killing

Gardaí at the scene of Michael Barr’s killing

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Gardaí at the scene of Michael Barr’s killing

Gardaí are confident of arresting and charging the getaway driver in the feud murder of Michael Barr.

Gunman David Hunter (42) was yesterday jailed for life by the Special Criminal Court for the Kinahan cartel murder at the Sunset House pub in north Dublin in 2016.

He is the third man to be convicted over the murder, but senior sources have revealed gardaí also plan to press charges against the suspected getaway driver, who is currently hiding out in Spain.

The north Dubliner, aged in his 30s, initially fled to Bangkok on April 26, 2016 - the day after Barr was shot dead.

He arrived at Dublin Airport with Eamonn Cumberton (32) who has since been convicted of Barr's murder.

Neither he nor Cumberton had any luggage and the suspect boarded the plane despite the fact that his pal Cumberton was not allowed to travel because his passport was due to expire.

Cumberton followed him to Thailand the following day after he managed to get an emergency passport.

They were both arrested at Dublin Airport when they returned on May 25, 2016, but while Cumberton was charged with Barr's murder four days later, the suspected getaway driver was released without charge.

However, gardaí believe they now have enough evidence to charge this individual.

"He doesn't have much in terms of convictions but gardaí believe he played a central role in that murder," a senior source said last night.

The Special Criminal Court found there was compelling evidence that Hunter, from Liverpool, was one of the two gunmen who entered the Summerhill pub and murdered Barr.

The victim was shot seven times by two men wearing boiler suits and full rubber masks.

The dissident Republican from Strabane, Co Tyrone, was blamed by the Kinahan cartel for sourcing the weapons used in the Regency Hotel attack in which key cartel player David Byrne (34) was shot dead.

In a victim-impact statement read by prosecution barrister Mr Dominic McGinn SC, Mr Barr's former partner Jade O'Shea, who has a child with Mr Barr, said their lives have been turned upside down and their six year-old daughter constantly asks for her father.

Nightmare

In her victim-impact statement, also read by Mr McGinn, Mr Barr's sister Noeleen said her brother was "brutally taken" from the Barr family and from his five children.

She said that after learning of Mr Barr's death on social media she was "found in pieces" on the floor and described his death as a "nightmare" for the family.

"How can you measure a life in drugs or money?" she asked.

She said the family had been through "mental torture" and described her brother as a talented sportsman and a family man who was a gentleman.

Delivering sentence, Mr Justice Alexander Owens, presiding, sitting with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh, backdated Hunter's life-sentence to April 2019, when he was first arrested on a European Arrest Warrant in a London prison.

Hunter is a convicted woman beater who beat up his girlfriend and threatened to kill a member of her family in Liverpool in 2016 before going on the run.

He was convicted of actual bodily harm in 2017 against his now ex-partner and was sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Detectives have never been able to establish how much he was due to be paid by the Kinahan cartel for the killing.

Speaking outside court yesterday, Detective Superintendent Colm Murphy said that the shooting of Mr Barr was a "cold and callous" murder carried out "on an individual going about his business in the Sunset House".

"At this time, we remember Michael's family, his partner and his children.

"I want to make it clear today that this is an ongoing investigation and want to reassure the public that we will bring all those involved in this murder to justice. This is the third conviction, but the investigation remains ongoing.

"Gardaí are acutely aware of the impact that this has on communities and I want to assure them we will do everything in our power to bring those involved to justice," he added.

The Herald previously revealed that Hunter is also being investigated by gardaí over the murder of 'The Monk' Gerry Hutch's brother Eddie Hutch.

Gardaí discovered he flew into Dublin from the UK on February 8, 2016 - the day that Eddie Hutch was murdered - and flew back out the following day.

Eddie Hutch (58) was shot dead at his home in Poplar Row, Ballybough, in revenge for the Regency Hotel bloodbath.

Apart from Hunter and Cumberton, Martin Aylmer of Casino Park, Marino, is serving six years in prison with the final 15 months suspended after he was captured on CCTV footage buying six pre-paid mobile phones in the run-up to the murder of Michael Barr.

One of these was found beside a burnt-out car used as the getaway vehicle.


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