herald

Thursday 21 November 2019

Hutch was suspect in gun murder of man found in blazing car

Gardai at the scene of the shooting in 2007
Gardai at the scene of the shooting in 2007

Slain gangster Gary Hutch was a prominent suspect and was questioned by gardai about the murder of a man who was shot dead in Dublin almost 12 years ago.

A jury at the inquest into the death of Derek Duffy (37) yesterday agreed that he sustained fatal gunshot wounds to the head in the early hours of September 23, 2007.

The inquest heard he had been out socialising with friends in Dublin city centre and later returned to his apartment in Smithfield with an associate to collect his black Audi car. The pair then made their way to Finglas.

Dublin Fire Brigade received an emergency call to Casement Park in Finglas at 3.49am.

"The car was on fire and there was a man who had sustained gunshots wounds on the footpath. The passenger door was open. There were four or five people in the vicinity," firefighter Aidan Conway said.

Detective Sergeant Gavin Ross said a resident of Casement Park had seen Mr Duffy in the car as it was burning and pulled him out from the passenger side.

"He was pronounced dead at the scene at 4.30am," Det Sgt Ross told Dublin Coroner's Court.

"The scene was preserved for a technical examination and Mr Duffy was removed to the morgue, where his brother Christopher Duffy formally identified him."

The cause of death was laceration to the brain and intracranial haemorrhage due to bullet wounds to the head.

The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing by person or persons unknown.

The inquest heard that Mr Duffy had visited his siblings the evening before his killing.

"I can't think of any reason anyone would harm Derek. No one had a bad word to say about him," his brother Raymond Duffy said in a deposition.

The victim's sister Maureen Duffy said he always kept in touch with the family after moving out of the family home, adding: "He was loved by us all."

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane offered her sympathies.

"Obviously this was a terrible tragedy that befell your family. Some years have passed but still this must be very difficult for you," she said.

Feud

Gardai previously investigated whether Gary Hutch walked up to the car and opened fire with a handgun.

It is believed that Mr Duffy fell foul of associates of Hutch who decided to have him murdered.

Hutch is believed to have fled to Spain in the days after Mr Duffy's murder where he was himself shot dead in September 2015 - the first murder in the Hutch/Kinahan feud which has now claimed 18 lives.

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