Tuesday 26 March 2019

'His life is not in danger from us' - David Byrne's family reacts as Patrick Hutch walks free from court

Sadie Byrne (centre) at the Criminal Courts of Justice
Sadie Byrne (centre) at the Criminal Courts of Justice
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

THE family of David Byrne have said they are distraught following the collapse of the murder case against Patrick Hutch.

Mr Hutch this morning walked free from the Special Criminal Court moments after charges against him for the murder of Mr Byrne at the Regency Hotel in Dublin were dropped by the State.

Mr Hutch (26) of Champions Avenue, Dublin 1, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Byrne (34) on February 5, 2016.

The three-judge, non-jury Special Criminal Court heard that the shooting took place during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel. A man dressed as a woman and another wearing a flat cap, armed with handguns, followed by three people dressed in tactical-style garda uniforms, carrying assault rifles, raided the venue.

It was the State’s case that Mr Hutch was the man dressed as a woman and that, although he did not shoot Mr Byrne, he was part of a "shared intention" to commit the offence.

The Director of Public Prosecutions entered a nolle prosequi against Mr Hutch today meaning the State will not be proceeding with the charges against Mr Hutch, and he was free to walk from the court.

Two men, one disguised as a woman and both carrying handguns, flee the scene of David Byrne's murder. Photo: Sunday World
Two men, one disguised as a woman and both carrying handguns, flee the scene of David Byrne's murder. Photo: Sunday World

David Byrne's mother Sadie was distraught following the collapse of the trial and was looking for answers.

"Three weeks ago, I got a phone call to say this was happening. It was going around the Law Library," she told reporters outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin.

Mrs Byrne said she rang a garda involved in the case, who she said told her not to listen to the rumours, that they weren't true.

She said the guard knocked on her door earlier this week to tell her "that chap is walking free".

David Byrne, who was shot six times and suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’
David Byrne, who was shot six times and suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’

Mrs Byrne said they had been given "no reason, no explanation".

She said: "One day the truth will come out. I won't be alive for it, but the truth will come out."

Asked what her family would do now, she said: "What can we do? Where can we go? The police don't want to know. The papers don't want to know.

"No one wants to listen to me. Nobody."

Asked if her family wanted to see an end to to the Hutch-Kinihan feud, Mrs Byrne said: "Of course we want it to end. Who wants a feud? Who wants to live like this? Who wants their child riddled? Gone to a sporting event and he doesn't come home."

When it was put to her that Patrick Hutch's life might now be in danger, she responded: "His life is not in danger from us."

She was critical of newspapers for publishing photos of her dead son lying on the ground in the aftermath of his murder.

"That is breaking my heart every time I see it," she said.

A sister of David Byrne, who declined to give her name, said she was "absolutely disgusted" with the outcome.

"I am his sister, living a life of hell," she said.

"Patrick Hutch walks free. Where is the justice? Put that in your paper and print it."

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