Tuesday 23 October 2018

Brother and sister plead not guilty to killing Gareth Hutch: 'Brutal and callous' murder was premeditated, court hears

Gareth Hutch (inset) and the scene of the shooting
Gareth Hutch (inset) and the scene of the shooting

Eimear Cotter

THE "brutal and callous" murder of Gareth Hutch was not a "spur of the moment attack" but was "premeditated" and a "significant amount of planning" went into it, a trial has heard.

Gareth Hutch (35), a nephew of Gerry Hutch, was shot dead as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street in Dublin on May 24, 2016.

Three people, Thomas Fox (31) and brother and sister Regina Keogh (41) and Jonathan Keogh (32), this morning pleaded not guilty before the Special Criminal Court to Mr Hutch's murder.

Mr Fox, with an address at Rutland Court, Dublin 1, also pleaded not guilty to possession of a Makorov handgun in suspicious circumstances.

In his opening address, prosecuting counsel Paul Burns SC said the "brutal and callous murder" of Mr Hutch was not a "spur of the moment attack" but was "premeditated" and a "significant amount of planning" went into it.

Mr Burns said the three co-accused each had "their own part to play in bringing about the killing of Mr Hutch".

The court heard that Jonathan Keogh, of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, was one of the two gunman, together with another man known as Mr AB.

Mr Burns said Regina Keogh lived in the same flat complex as Mr Hutch and that Mr Fox and Mr Keogh knew each other well.

The court heard there was "a heated exchange" between Mr Hutch and Mr Keogh in the car park of Avondale House on the day prior to the killing.

It appeared to end with both parties shaking hands, but later that same day Mr Keogh was overheard on the phone with a member of the extended Hutch family where he expressed his intention to kill Gareth Hutch.

Mr Burns said the evidence of Mary McDonnell, who had a flat at Avondale House, would be "important" in this trial, as the accused had gathered in her home in the hours before the murder.

Her kitchen window had a view into Mr Hutch's flat, the court heard.

Around 10.40pm on the night before the killing, Mr Burns said Mr Fox and Mr Keogh arrived into Ms McDonnell's flat and produced two handguns and silencers.

She was asked for wipes to clean the guns and for plastic bags to put the guns in.

Mr Burns said the men left Ms McDonnell's flat and the evidence will be that Regina Keogh arrived a short time later with rubber gloves, which were to be used by the attackers.

On the day of the killing, Mr Burns said Mr Keogh and Mr AB arrived into Ms McDonnell's flat and got the rubber gloves.

A BMW car had been parked in the car park of the flat complex the day before. Mr Burns said the evidence will be that Mr Keogh was running in and out of Ms McDonnell's bedroom to ensure the BMW wasn't blocked in, while Mr AB kept  watch on Mr Hutch's flat from her kitchen.

Shortly after 10am on May 24, 2016, Mr Burns said that Mr Keogh and Mr AB left Ms McDonnell's flat. They ran up to Mr Hutch as he was getting into his car. He was shot four times, all from the same gun.

Mr Hutch received medical attention at the scene, but he later died.

Mr Burns said Mr Keogh and Mr AB ran to the BMW and remained in it for a minute, but then abandoned it and ran out of the flat complex.

He said Ross Hutch arrived on the scene, saw Gareth on the ground and followed the two attackers for a while before turning back.

Mr Burns said the two attackers ran in the direction of Sean McDermott Street before they got into a silver Skoda Octavia, which was parked on Champions Avenue.

The car drove off, and Mr Keogh jumped out of the vehicle on Rutland Street and fled the area.

He went to Belfast after the killing, and Mr Burns said that his sister Regina arranged for money to be brought to him.

The Skoda Octavia was driven in the direction of Ballymun and was later found burnt out.

Mr Burns said that Mr Fox had been parked nearby in a white Ford Transit, but due to the change of plans the white van was not required.

In relation to the evidence against the accused, Mr Burns said Avondale House has a CCTV system which captured some of the comings and goings of the accused, as well as the shooting of Mr Hutch.

Mr Burns also said that five vehicles were involved in this shooting, and DNA and fingerprint evidence could link Mr Keogh and Mr Fox to these vehicles.

He also said Mr Keogh and Mr Fox were caught on CCTV in Tesco buying a bottle of Milton sterilising fluid on May 22, 2016 - this was later found in the Ford Transit van.

Cans of petrol was also found by gardai in the BMW and in the Ford Transit.

Mr Burns said clothing in the BMW can be linked to Mr Keogh, and a black bag in the van can be linked to Mr Fox.

The court also heard there will be mobile phone evidence showing that Mr Keogh and Mr Fox were in contact early that morning, as Mr Fox was getting nervous as the white Transit van was attracting attention.

The trial before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh is expected to take five weeks.

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