A SUSPECTED criminal pal of suicide victim Derek Hutch Snr went away to England, according to pals -- despite garda fears that he was murdered.
The man, a petty criminal and known associate of Hutch's disappeared 19 years ago, and gardai suspect that he may have been murdered by former pals in a row over the proceeds from an armed robbery.
Hutch Snr (44), who killed himself last February, reportedly revealed information about the man's whereabouts before his death. This led gardai to carry out a search at Garristown in north county Dublin, but nothing was found despite a lengthy dig in the area.
The Herald understands that pals of the missing man have now told officers they believe that he went to England to escape from his associates, and was not murdered. Gardai have tried to trace the man's whereabouts in Britain, without success. They are continuing to treat his case as that of a missing person.
The missing man's identity has not been revealed, at the request of his relatives.
The news comes as Dublin City Coronor ruled that Derek Hutch Snr committed suicide by cutting his arms, days after returning home from a psychiatric hospital for a day visit.
A brother of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, Derek Hutch Snr was a convicted rapist who also had convictions for drugs and assault offences.
His inquest heard from a psychiatrist who said that Hutch Snr told him he felt "guilty about something that had happened many years ago" just days before fatally cutting himself.
Dr Guy Molyneaux, a consultant psychiatrist at St Vincent's Hospital, said that Hutch Snr did not go into further details. The convicted rapist died at the Mater Hospital on February 23 last after cutting himself at his home in the north inner city.
The coroner's court heard that Hutch had been on five different types of medications at the time of his death, including an anti-psychotic medication, anti-depressants and sleeping medication. He had had multiple previous admissions to St Vincent's Hospital.
The jury at the Dublin City Coroner's Court yesterday recorded a verdict of suicide.