A feared hitman suspected of being involved in three murders linked to the Hutch/Kinahan feud has been arrested over the murder of innocent taxi-driver Eddie Hutch Snr.
The north Dublin criminal, who is in his 30s, was detained by detectives investigating the fatal shooting of Hutch (59) at his home in Poplar Row, Ballybough, in Dublin’s north-inner city.
The gangster is regarded as one of the country’s most dangerous criminals and a number of armed gardai were needed to arrest him.
He is also a chief suspect in the murders of Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan and Michael Barr, both of whom were aligned to associates of murdered Gary Hutch (28) and his uncle, Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.
The suspected hitman was previously closely associated with Kevin Ledwidge, a 27-year-old Finglas criminal shot dead in July 2007, and Finglas murderer David Cully (24), who was jailed for life in July for the gun murder of his uncle.
Detectives from Mountjoy Garda Station arrested the suspect yesterday morning and are continuing to question him. He can be detained for up to seven days.
Last week, the Herald revealed how the gangster terrified gym staff when he demanded subscription refunds for four of his associates – men who are either on-the-run or locked up.
Two months ago he was warned about an active threat against his life because of his suspected role in the murders, but he abused detectives when they issued him with the formal notice. Gardai suspect the hitman is working alongside a young criminal who is living in the north-inner city.
This individual, who had links to slain gangster Martin ‘Marlo’ Hyland, is also suspected of involvement in three of the feud murders.
He has also been notified of threats against his life, but gardai suspect he remains involved in the feud.
Eddie Hutch, who is the brother of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, was murdered on February 8, three days after gunmen stormed the Regency Hotel and gunned down David Byrne (33), a close associate of crime boss Daniel Kinahan (37).
Two of the killers are believed to have escaped in a car that was later found dumped on St Patrick’s Parade, in nearby Drumcondra. It was undamaged, but a can of petrol inside the vehicle indicated that the intention had been to destroy it.
The murder is being treated as a revenge attack for the killing of Crumlin native Byrne, considered one of the key lieutenants of the Kinahan cartel.
Gary Hutch (35) had been working on behalf of the Kinahan cartel before he fell out with them. He was murdered at an apartment complex in Mira de Flores in Spain last September. It is believed Hutch was killed for attempting to steal money from a north Dublin drug-dealer who was repaying a €1.5m debt to the gang.
Cigarette smuggler Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan became the fourth feud victim when he was shot dead at his home in Ratoath, Co Meath on March 23.
Detectives believe Duggan was targeted by the Kinahan cartel due to his close relationship with Gerry Hutch.
A month later, on April 14, innocent father-of-three Martin O’Rourke (24) was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity.
It is believed that the intended target of the shooting on Sheriff Street was Keith Murtagh (32), a convicted armed robber. He fled to Britain following that murder.
It’s believed Murtagh was targeted over his close ties with members of the Hutch gang.
The most recent feud victim was dissident republican Michael ‘Mickey’ Barr (36), who was shot dead inside the Sunset House pub in Summerhill on April 25.
Last night, a number of armed garda checkpoints were in operation close to the scene where he was shot dead two weeks ago.
Barr was targeted after members of the Kinahan cartel suspected he supplied the AK-47s used in the Regency Hotel attack.
The Co Tyrone native was a close associate of ‘Flat Cap’, a criminal from the North suspected of being one of the shooters in the Regency attack.
Meanwhile, cartel leader Daniel Kinahan has been living in a number of lavish hotels in the Middle East after pulling back from the feud.
The gang’s operations have been left in the control of a number of criminals closely associated with murdered gangster Byrne.