Saturday 1 October 2016

Bungling gunman in drag acted like ‘feeble’ old lady but got lost and had for directions in hotel

Ryan Nugent and Maeve Sheehan

Published 08/02/2016 | 11:40

The scene inside the Regency Hotel in Whitehall
The scene inside the Regency Hotel in Whitehall

A bungling gunman in drag – who fired the first shots in Friday’s gangland slaying – got lost in the hotel moments before he opened fire, and had to ask for directions.

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The man acted like a “feeble” old woman – wearing a dirty blonde wig, knee-high boots, a black coat, glasses and lipstick – and entered the hotel arm-in-arm with another man.

The pair made their way into the building through one of its side entrances in an attempt to get into the weigh-in room for the MGM boxing event. More than 100 people were in attendance, including several members of the Christy Kinahan crime syndicate.

However, they soon realised they didn’t know where they were.

The two men, who were carrying concealed handguns, then turned back and exited the building. The man disguised as a woman appeared to make a phone call seeking directions, before asking one of the hotel’s porters for help.

Masculine

Hotel general manager John Glynn told the Herald, that while the man was disguised as a old woman, he asked the porter for directions in a distinctively masculine voice.

“The guy dressed as a woman spoke with a male voice. After asking for directions they eventually went back down through the corridor and found their way in,” Mr Glynn said.

“Initially, it appeared that this woman was pretending to be feeble, old and harmless. She was being linked arm in arm with what seemed to be her son and she looked as if she was coming for a bit of lunch.

“They went into the weigh-in room, and the guy dressed as a woman fired the first shot.”

It is believed that upon hearing the gunshot, David Byrne (34) ran towards the exit doors. However, he slipped in the reception area of the hotel after seeing two other gunmen armed with AK-47s who came through the front door dressed as gardai. He was shot dead there.

Mr Glynn said that had Byrne tried to made his getaway two minutes sooner, he would probably have escaped unscathed.

“While that guy was shot, two reception staff standing there dived on the ground. Thank God, they escaped any injury,” he said.

“There were numerous shots fired.”

The hotel’s reception area was still cordoned off yesterday – with garda forensic teams combing the hotel’s carpets and bins for evidence.

Damage

Gardai were also said to be examining CCTV footage from the hotel frame by frame.

It is expected that the hotel will be back to business as usual today – but Mr Glynn was unsure how much damage had been done to certain areas. He said he would meet hotel staff today and organise support services for anyone that required them.

Mr Glynn added that he was just relieved that none of his staff were injured in the ordeal.

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