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Friday 14 December 2018

Gareth Hutch murder accused 'was heard making threat to kill him' after argument

Scene of the shooting at Avondale House flats in 2016
Scene of the shooting at Avondale House flats in 2016

A Dublin man accused of murdering Gareth Hutch was overheard making a threat that he was going to kill him, a trial has heard.

Jonathan Keogh (31) was allegedly involved in a "heated exchange" with Hutch the day before the killing, but it appeared to end with both parties shaking hands.

It was later that day that Mr Keogh was allegedly overheard expressing his intention to kill Hutch, who was the nephew of Gerry Hutch.

Mr Keogh, his sister Regina Keogh (41), and Thomas Fox (31), have all pleaded not guilty before the Special Criminal Court to the murder of Hutch.

Mr Fox, of Rutland Court, Dublin 1, also pleaded not guilty to possessing a Makarov handgun in suspicious circumstances.

Hutch was shot dead as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats, on North Cumberland Street, Dublin, on May 24, 2016.

In his opening address to the court, prosecuting counsel Paul Burns said the "brutal and callous murder" was not a "spur of the moment attack" but was "pre-mediated" and a "significant amount of planning" went into it.

Mr Burns said the three co-accused each had "their own part to play in bringing about the killing of Mr Hutch".

Handguns

The court heard that Mr Keogh, of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, was one of the two gunmen, together with another man known as Mr AB.

Mr Burns said Regina Keogh lived in the same flats complex as Hutch and that Mr Fox and Mr Keogh knew each other well.

Gareth Hutch
Gareth Hutch

The barrister said Ms Keogh and Mr Fox were "instrumental" in the planning of the attack.

He said the evidence of Mary McDonnell, who had a flat at Avondale House, would be "important" as the accused had gathered in her home in the hours before the murder.

Her kitchen window had a view into Hutch's flat, the court heard.

The non-jury court heard there would be evidence of "a heated exchange" between Hutch and Mr Keogh in the car park of Avondale House on the day prior to the killing.

Later that day, while in Ms McDonnell's flat, Mr Keogh was heard on the phone with a member of the extended Hutch family.

It is also alleged that, separately, he was heard expressing his intention to kill Gareth Hutch.

Around 10.40pm on the night before the killing, Mr Burns said Mr Fox and Mr Keogh arrived at Ms McDonnell's flat and produced two handguns and silencers.

She was asked for wipes to clean the guns and for plastic bags to put them in.

Mr Burns said the men left Ms McDonnell's flat and the evidence would be that Ms Keogh arrived a short time later with rubber gloves, which were to be used by the attackers.

On the day of the killing, Mr Burns said Mr Keogh and Mr AB arrived at Ms McDonnell's flat and got the rubber gloves. A BMW had been parked in the flats' car park the day before.

Mr Burns said the evidence would be that Mr Keogh was running in and out of Ms McDonnell's bedroom to ensure the BMW wasn't blocked in, while Mr AB kept watch on Hutch's flat from her kitchen. 

Shortly after 10am on May 24, Mr Burns said, Mr Keogh and Mr AB left Ms McDonnell's flat and ran up to Hutch as he was getting into his car.

He was shot four times - twice in the neck, once in his back and once in his chest.

Hutch received medical attention at the scene, but he was pronounced dead at 10.36am.

Mr Burns said the court would hear that the bullets came from a single weapon and the firearms were discarded by the men in the car park.

Mr Burns said Mr Keogh and Mr AB ran to the BMW and remained in it for a minute, but then abandoned it and ran out of the flats complex.

Fingerprint

He said Ross Hutch arrived on the scene, saw Gareth Hutch on the ground and followed the two attackers for a while before turning back.

Mr Burns said the evidence would be the two attackers ran in the direction of Sean McDermott Street before getting into a silver Skoda Octavia parked on Champions Avenue.

The car drove off, and Mr Keogh jumped out on Rutland Street and fled the area.

He went to Belfast after the killing, and Mr Burns said his sister Regina arranged for money to be taken to him. He was later extradited from the UK.

The Skoda was driven in the direction of Ballymun and was later found burnt out, the court heard.

Mr Burns said Mr Fox had been parked nearby in a Ford Transit, but owing to the change of plans it was not required. 

The barrister said Avondale House had a CCTV system which captured some of the comings and goings of the accused, as well as the shooting.

Mr Burns also said five vehicles were involved, and DNA and fingerprint evidence could link Mr Keogh and Mr Fox to these vehicles.

He added that Mr Keogh and Mr Fox were caught on CCTV in Tesco buying a bottle of Milton sterilising fluid on May 22, 2016 - this was later found in the Ford Transit van.

Cans of petrol were also found by gardai in the BMW and in the van.

Mr Burns said clothing in the BMW could be linked to Mr Keogh, and a plastic bag in the van could be linked to Mr Fox.

The barrister added that phones could be shown to have pinged off phone masts.

The trial before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh is expected to last five weeks.

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