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Wednesday 20 November 2019

Kinahan target to be sentenced for armed raid

Keith Murtagh was the intended target of the gun attack in 2016 that saw innocent Martin O’Rourke shot dead
Keith Murtagh was the intended target of the gun attack in 2016 that saw innocent Martin O’Rourke shot dead

A senior member of the Hutch gang, who has survived a number of attempts on his life linked to the Hutch/Kinahan feud, will be sentenced next month for his part in the armed robbery of a post office.

Keith Murtagh (35), of Mariners' Port, Sheriff Street, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery at the Roebuck Post Office at Farmhill Road, Goatstown, Dublin, on January 5, 2016.

Murtagh had also pleaded not guilty to possession of a shotgun and possession of a shotgun cartridge on the same date. After a 10-day trial last July, a jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all charges.

The court heard yesterday that Murtagh continues to deny his part in the armed robbery.

Detective Garda Lisa McHugh told Dean Kelly BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, two men entered the post office, one armed with a handgun and one with a shotgun.

Det Gda McHugh said the man with the handgun ordered people to get on the ground, while the other man discharged two shotgun blasts into the glass partition. This man then climbed over the desk into the back of the post office.

A total of €2,754 was stolen and a further €420 was taken from the tills of a fine food shop on the same premises.

Det Gda McHugh said the two men left the scene in a stolen car, which they then abandoned in a lane around 400 or 500 metres away.

CCTV footage obtained from a house in that area showed a grey Renault Scenic moving at an unusual speed.

Cartridge

Two nights later, Murtagh was a passenger in a grey Scenic car when the car ran out of petrol in the Dalkey area.

Martin O’Rourke
Martin O’Rourke

Gardai stopped to assist them and returned with a can of petrol but a routine check found there was a minor road traffic offence outstanding and the car was seized.

Two pairs of tracksuit bottoms were found in the back seat of the vehicle.

A forensic analysis later identified fragments of glass which had the same rare refractive index as the glass from the post office counter.

A shotgun cartridge was also found in the abandoned car which was later found to have Murtagh's DNA on it.

Garnet Orange SC asked the court to have regard for the fact that his client had spent most of his life in prison.

He said Murtagh had done a number of mini marathons while in custody to raise money for good causes.

Mr Orange said his client accepted there was evidence before the jury that entitled them to come to the verdict to which they came, but he maintains his innocence of the charges.

Judge Melanie Greally remanded Murtagh in custody and adjourned the matter for finalisation on November 22.

Murtagh has 42 previous convictions, including convictions for attempted robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm relating to an attempted robbery of a cash-in-transit van in Lucan in May 15, 2009.

During the raid, another man with Murtagh discharged a "warning shot" in the air with a shotgun.

Gardai then opened fire, injuring Murtagh and killing the other man.

Murtagh survived a number of attempts on his life at the height of the Hutch/Kinahan feud.

He was the intended target of a gun attack when Martin O'Rourke was shot dead on Sheriff Street in April 2016.

Months later, he was in a house in Cherry Orchard when shots were fired through the front window but only suffered minor injuries.

Since being charged with the post office robbery, he has been remanded in custody in Wheatfield Prison, where he is being held in an isolated wing with his Hutch associates.

Murtagh has been blamed by the Kinahan cartel for involvement in the Regency Hotel shooting which led to the murder of David Byrne.

However, Murtagh's involvement has been strenuously denied by his family and gardai have not found any evidence to support the cartel's suspicion.

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