herald

Saturday 17 November 2018

Witness gave 'explosive statement' about Hutch killing, garda tells court

Jonathan Keogh and Thomas Fox
Jonathan Keogh and Thomas Fox

A key witness in the Gareth Hutch murder case gave what a senior garda described as an "explosive statement" about the killing when she was interviewed at her home, a court heard.

Detective Sergeant Enda O'Sullivan said the statement was "unbelievable" and his immediate priority had been to get the woman and her two teenage daughters to safety when he heard it.

He was giving evidence at the Special Criminal Court in the trial of two men and a woman who are accused of murdering Mr Hutch in a north inner city flats complex car park.

Murder

Jonathan Keogh (32), along with his sister Regina Keogh (41) and Thomas Fox (31), have denied the murder of Mr Hutch on May 24, 2016.

Mr Hutch (36), a nephew of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, was shot dead outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street.

It is the State's case Mr Keogh, of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting.

It is alleged that Mr Fox, of Rutland Court, Dublin 1, and Ms Keogh, of Avondale House, were instrumental in planning the murder, and Mr Keogh and another man were the shooters.

Det Sgt O'Sullivan, who gave evidence previously, was cross-examined by Sean Guerin SC, for Mr Keogh, about a statement given by Mary McDonnell of Avondale House.

The court heard two suspects were seen on CCTV going to and leaving her flat on the morning of the murder.

Det Sgt O'Sullivan said one of the people was seen carrying a plastic bag with him on the way up and he believed the guns were in that bag.

Regina Keogh
Regina Keogh

The court heard that on May 25, 2016, gardai searched Ms McDonnell's flat, which had been declared a crime scene.

Det Sgt O'Sullivan said he was having a "general conversation" with Ms McDonnell about her family and the neighbourhood.

"She told us where she likes to sit and she sees and hears everything from that spot on the couch beside the window," Det Sgt O'Sullivan said.

This, he said, led to her talking about a fight between Gareth Hutch and Mr Keogh the night before the murder.

She was asked to go back to Mountjoy Garda Station to make a statement but she declined and said she wanted to make the statement in her apartment. She was not a suspect at that stage, Det Sgt O'Sullivan said.

Mr Guerin asked why he would not suspect someone who had "sheltered shooters" in her home and who "lied" to the gardai about what happened there.

Gareth Hutch
Gareth Hutch

"If I had made that decision she would have been arrested at the time," Det Sgt O'Sullivan said.

Mr Guerin said it was "incredible" that Det Sgt O'Sullivan would not have suspected her and that was evidence of "extraordinary gullibility" on his part.

Det Sgt O'Sullivan said by the time she made her statement, "other matters overtook everything else" and his main priority was the safety of Ms McDonnell and her children.

Safety

At the end of her statement, she had disclosed "serious information" about the case and Det Sgt O'Sullivan had "immediate concerns" for their safety.

He asked Ms McDonnell to travel to Mountjoy Garda Station because he wanted to transport her to a place of safety.

"It was actually unbelievable the content of what she said. I struggled myself to believe it and wanted to verify it," Det Sgt O'Sullivan said.

"It was an explosive statement, to say the least."

In the "general conversation", he said, they had discussed another murder weeks earlier and how people were nervous in the area.

The trial continues.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News