Family of murdered Irish dad arrive home to Dublin on same flight as intended hit target
Published 19/08/2016 | 06:54
THE FAMILY of innocent murder victim Trevor O’Neill last night arrived home from Spain on the same flight as the intended target of the hit.
His partner Susan and their three children were on FR9998 which arrived at Dublin Airport from Palma, just before midnight.
Jonathan Hutch was also on the flight. Mr O’Neill (41) was a victim of mistaken identity and gardai believe Hutch (37) was the intended target of the slaying.
Mr Hutch, a nephew of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, who has been warned about threats on his life had been staying in the same apartment complex in Majorca where Mr O’Neill and his family were staying for their holiday.
He was talking to the group as they walked to a restaurant when the gunmen struck, killing the wrong man. Passengers from the flight disembarked at Terminal 1’s arrivals last night.
However, the family was escorted out a private exit and did not come through the public arrivals hall. Mr Hutch was also taken out a separate exit.
Gardai kept a discreet presence at the airport. Beforehand officers had set up a checkpoint and were stopping motorists as they drove into the airport.
Gardai are investigating reports the suspected gunman lay in wait for days before the botched gun attack which resulted in the father’s death on Wednesday night.
Liaising with their Spanish counterparts, gardai are probing whether the gunman hid in the Balearic island or mainland Spain for a number of days, intent on murdering Jonathan Hutch – the older brother of feud murder victim Gareth Hutch.
It is believed the killer flew from the UK – where he has been hiding after threats were made against him in Dublin – and made his way to Majorca with the latest feud hit in mind.
Both Mr O’Neill and Hutch were in a group of people who were walking in the resort of Costa de la Calma when the cowardly gun attack happened.
The men were not known to each other are understood to have only met on holiday as their children played together in the pool area of the apartments they were staying in.
A gunman, who was with two other men, pumped five shots into innocent Mr O’Neill around 9pm on Wednesday as he walked close to Hutch.
Gardai said Mr O’Neill had no involvement in crime. His devastated family were due to arrive back in Dublin Airport late last night.
Mr O’Neill’s partner Suzanne, speaking to RTE News from the airport in Majorca, described the events as “horrific”.
“We went out the front of the hotel and Trevor was walking in front with the chap we met on holidays. I was walking behind pushing the buggy. I saw a man walking up wearing a hoodie.
“I thought it was strange because it was roasting. I saw him pull out a gun.”
She said armed police then took them to a safe house in Palma where they spent the night. She said they had “no food or water and had to sleep on chairs”. She said she did not know Mr O’Neill was dead until her family called her from Ireland yesterday. The couple had been together for 20 years.
She said she was distraught at the news, and that their three children – aged five, seven and 12 – are “petrified”.
Sources said that investigators are now trying to establish the exact whereabouts of the ruthless 36-year-old hitman, who was based in Finglas before fleeing the capital last month.
He has previously been arrested and questioned about the feud murder of Eddie Hutch Snr in February, and gardai have also been investigating if the violent hood was involved in the murder of Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan (55), a former business partner of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch who was shot dead outside his home in Ratoath, Co Meath, on March 23.
“What’s not in any doubt is that Jonathan Hutch has been one of the major targets for the Kinahan cartel.
“The hitman who travelled to Spain has been involved in a number of murders for the cartel,” a source said.
Despite being a major target for the cartel, Jonathan Hutch is not considered a serious criminal and is not known for involvement in organised crime.
One of his most serious brushes with the law occurred almost two decades ago when he was jailed for four years for dangerous driving offences in the Phoenix Park and North Circular Road. However, sources say he has rarely been on the garda radar for serious offences.
None of this matters to the Kinahan cartel, who it is believed have decided that he should be murdered simply because he is a nephew of crime boss Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.
Since the deadly feud between the cartel and some of his associates kicked-off, Jonathan Hutch has been warned by gardai on a number of occasions about an active threat against his life. In May, he was brought to a confirmation in the south inner city by armed gardai after they received information that he could be targeted.
Days earlier, he carried the coffin of his younger brother Gareth (35), who was shot dead on the orders of the cartel at the Avondale House Flats in North Cumberland Street on May 24.