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Sunday 22 July 2018

'I didn't have anything to do with murder of Hutch' - accused Quinn

James Quinn (pictured) denies the murder of Gary Hutch, who was shot dead at an estate near Fuengirola in September 2015. Photo: solarpix.com
James Quinn (pictured) denies the murder of Gary Hutch, who was shot dead at an estate near Fuengirola in September 2015. Photo: solarpix.com

The Dublin man accused of the brutal murder of Gary Hutch in Spain in 2015 has again denied killing Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch's nephew, telling the court in Malaga that he "didn't have anything to do with the murder".

The jury in the trial of James Quinn will continue its deliberations this morning after failing to reach a verdict last night.

Dubliner Quinn, who Spanish state prosecutors claim pulled the trigger or drove the stolen getaway car, said in a last court address: "I was never in the car, I was never at the apartment and I didn't have anything to do with the murder."

Feud

The Irishman was offered the opportunity to protest his innocence after three days of evidence and lawyers' closing speeches before the five women and four male jurors retired to consider their verdict just after 2.30pm local time yesterday.

Quinn - facing a life sentence if he is found guilty of the September 24, 2015, murder which sparked a deadly feud between the Kinahan and Hutch families - shook hands with his lawyer as he was led away.

A quick verdict was ruled out as jurors were told to return to court this morning to update the judge on their progress.

State prosecutor Jose Barba sensationally admitted late on Wednesday that Quinn could have been the getaway driver rather than the balaclava-clad killer, as he handed the court an alternative "B" indictment to be considered alongside his main pre-trial one.

He said in his closing speech he was convinced the dad-of-one had personally killed Hutch and insisted it had been demonstrated in court.

However, he told the jury he was also offering them the option of convicting Quinn on the same charge of murder - but ruling the 35-year-old was the driver and lookout who helped make the execution happen, so it did not have to acquit him if the jurors had doubts he was the gunman.

Referring to the baseball cap containing Quinn's DNA that was recovered from the BMW X3 Hutch's killers tried to torch near the murder scene, Mr Barba added: "I think if he ever admitted to regretting anything it wouldn't be the murder of Gary Hutch but the fact he didn't destroy the now famous baseball cap which has ended up certifying his involvement in the killing. The baseball cap is crucial."

He described Quinn's claims he was in bed with a hangover and a prostitute when Hutch was gunned down on a gated estate in Miraflores near Fuengirola as "a collection of the outlandish".

"Why didn't he say it when he was arrested and questioned by police? If he had, that woman could have been brought as a witness," he added.

Mr Barba told the jury that although there was no written contract to prove Quinn was a hired assassin for the Kinahan cartel, there was evidence pointing to the fact he was a paid killer and murdered Hutch for money.

"We don't know exactly the motives behind the murder but the victim was the nephew of the head of the Hutch clan leader Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch and obviously an important figure," he said.

"You can't bring him back to life with a guilty verdict but you can see to it justice is done."

Proof

Quinn's defence solicitor Pedro Apalategui urged the jury to put aside the images they had seen of police giving evidence behind doors or addressing the court with balaclavas on, which were not conducive to the presumption of innocence.

He said there was no proof whatsoever to back up the prosecution claim Quinn killed for cash and insisted the possibility of manipulation existed in the recovery of the baseball cap with his client's DNA on it from the getaway car.

Quinn has also been tried for illegal weapons possession and faces a three-year prison sentence if convicted.

His lawyer says he is innocent of any wrongdoing.

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