Sunday 15 September 2019

Dubliner James Quinn found guilty of murder of Gary Hutch in Spain - but not as gunman

Murder sparked deadly feud between the Kinahan and Hutch families

James Quinn
James Quinn

Gerard Couzens

DUBLIN man James Quinn has been convicted of the murder of Gary Hutch - but a jury has ruled he was the getaway driver and not the gunman.

Jurors also decided prosecutors had not proven Quinn was acting on the orders of gangland bosses - meaning he cannot be sentenced to life in prison when the trial judge decides how long he should spend behind bars.

The five women and four men found the Irishman guilty of a second charge of illegal weapons possession at a court in Malaga where his trial began on Monday.

State prosecutor Jose Barba called on judge Ernesto Carlos Manzano to jail Quinn (35) for a total of 28 years after the jury verdict - 25 years for murder and three years for the weapons conviction.

Quinn’s defence team urged the judge - who is expected to deliver his sentence in writing in a couple of weeks time - to jail him for the minimum 20 years a murder conviction carries in Spain, and two years for the gun crime.

The Dubliner showed no signs of emotion as he was told of the jury verdict - delivered around 3.20pm on Friday Irish time - by a translator.

Gary Hutch
Gary Hutch

He waved to a woman sitting in the public gallery - who did not want to comment outside court - and shook his lawyer’s hand before being led away by police.

The guilty murder verdict was unanimous.

The jury forewoman told the court the nine-strong jury were convicting Quinn of murder as a necessary participant in the brutal September 24 2015 killing - and ruled it had been proven he acted as a lookout and getaway driver because of a baseball cap with his DNA on it found in the stolen BMW after it was dumped near the murder scene.

But she said they could not conclude he was the man who chased 34-year-old Hutch round a swimming pool at his gated estate in Miraflores near Fuengirola before shooting him dead.

The state prosecutor offered jurors the option of considering Quinn was the getaway driver and not the gunman in a last-minute indictment he handed them on day three of the trial.

He told the court trying Quinn he was still seeking a murder conviction and the same life sentence for the Irishman as a “necessary participant” in the killing - even if jurors could not support his principal argument that he pulled the trigger.

The possibility of a life sentence was cancelled out because jurors rejected prosecution claims Quinn belonged to a criminal organisation blamed for the killing, despite the prosecutor saying it was linked to the ongoing deadly feud between the Hutch and Kinahan families. Jurors also ruled it had not been proven Quinn was paid for the murder.

His defence lawyer Pedro Apalategui announced outside court he would appeal to a higher regional court.

He said: “We completely disagree with the verdict.”

The ongoing gangland feud said to have been sparked by Gary Hutch’s murder has cost the lives of at least 15 people in Ireland and Spain.

More to follow

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