Thursday 8 December 2016

Partner of innocent dad of gangland hit killed in Spain not told he was dead until hours later

Family man had met the intended target on holiday

Ken Foy and Robin Schiller

Published 19/08/2016 | 02:30

Trevor O'Neill, inset, emergency services at the scene of the shooting in Costa de la Calma. Photo: Solarpix
Trevor O'Neill, inset, emergency services at the scene of the shooting in Costa de la Calma. Photo: Solarpix
Trevor O’Neill, who was shot dead in Spain in a case of mistaken identity

The shooting dead of an innocent father, Trevor O'Neill, in front of his family has been branded "appalling and tragic".

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The father of three was shot dead in the Costa de la Calma region while on holiday with his partner Suzanne and their three children.

Suzanne was wheeling one of their children in a pushchair when the gunman approached, along with two other men, and opened fire.

It is understood that Spanish police removed her and the children from the scene shortly after the murder but Suzanne was not informed that her husband was dead until a number of hours later.

The heartbroken mother of three was due to travel home from Majorca last night with the couple's children, who are aged 12, seven and five.

Speaking to RTE News from the airport in Majorca, she described the events of last night as "horrific". She said armed police brought her and her three children to a safe house in Palma to spend the night.

Paramedics at the scene of the shooting dead of Trevor O’Neill in Costa de la Calma, Spain. Photo: Solarpix.com
Paramedics at the scene of the shooting dead of Trevor O’Neill in Costa de la Calma, Spain. Photo: Solarpix.com

She said that she didn't hear that Trevor had died until relatives contacted her from Ireland with the devastating news this morning.

The couple had been together for 20 years. The family was in Majorca since last Saturday. The holiday was a birthday present. She said she was distraught at the news, and that their three children - aged 5, 7 and 12 - are "petrified".

A spokesperson for Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald described Mr O'Neill's death as an "appalling and tragic killing".

She has received a briefing on the circumstances behind the attack and gardaí are "continuing to liaise closely with their Spanish counterparts".

Her spokesperson continued: "Following a meeting in June between the Tánaiste and the Spanish minister for the interior, both ministers recognised the excellent bilateral co-operation between the police forces in both jurisdictions and reiterated their commitment to the importance of such cooperation.

"An Garda Síochána will continue to take whatever measures are open to them to counteract the deadly activities of gangs, both in this jurisdiction and in co-operation with their international partners."

Mr O' Neill (41) was a victim of mistaken identity. Gardaí believe that Jonathan Hutch (37), an older brother of feud murder victim Gareth Hutch, was the intended target.

"Jonathan Hutch was present when this murder happened and the main theory is that Mr O'Neill was shot by mistake, instead of the intended target," a source said last night.

Both Mr O'Neill and Jonathan Hutch were in a group of people who were walking in the resort of Costa de la Calma when the killing took place.

The men had not known one another before but are understood to have met on holiday as their children had played together in the pool area of the apartments where they were staying.

A gunman who was with two other men pumped five shots into the Dublin City Council worker as he walked on the street close to Jonathan Hutch.

Gardaí have stressed that Mr O'Neill had no involvement in crime.

It has now emerged that a north Dublin criminal, who is a suspect in at least two feud-related gangland murders, had travelled to Spain from England, where he had been based for a number of weeks after fleeing Dublin.

Sources said that investigators were trying to establish the exact whereabouts of the 36-year-old criminal, who had been based in Finglas before he fled Dublin last month.

He has previously been arrested and questioned in connection with the feud murder of Eddie Hutch Snr in February.

Children

Gardaí have also been investigating if the criminal 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 and the hitman who has travelled to Spain has been involved in a number of murders for the cartel," a source explained.

Mr O'Neill's murder is the 10th linked to the deadly Kinahan Hutch feud and the second in Spain after Gary Hutch's shooting last year.

Irish Independent

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