A Dublin man facing trial for the murder of a dissident republican four years ago has disappeared along with his girlfriend.
Dean Evans (26), is one of three men charged in connection with the murder of Peter Butterly on March 6, 2013.
The Special Criminal Court in Dublin yesterday issued a warrant for the arrest of Evans, of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, after he failed to appear to face trial.
It heard that he and his girlfriend have not been seen since Sunday and that his family are "concerned" about his whereabouts.
However, the Herald understands gardai do not believe Evans was murdered. Underworld sources said last night that he had fled to Spain with his girlfriend.
He was a friend of murdered Real IRA boss Alan Ryan (32), who was gunned down in September 2012.
Evans, along with Edward McGrath (35) and Sharif Kelly (46), were due to stand trial yesterday on charges connected with the murder of Butterly (35), who was shot dead in the car park of the Huntsman Inn, Gormanston, Co Meath.
A car entered the car park and shots were fired at father-of-three Butterly, who tried to flee. He was found collapsed in a corner of the car park and was pronounced dead a short time later.
Kelly, of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan, and McGrath, of Lanndale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght, were both present in court yesterday and were remanded on continuing bail until today.
Det Insp William Hanrahan, of the Special Detective Unit, told prosecuting counsel Paul O'Higgins that Evans had signed on in accordance with his bail conditions at Raheny Garda Station last Sunday.
He told the court that Evans' father had since contacted the gardai and told them he was worried about him.
Det Insp Hanrahan said Evans was granted bail to travel to Spain last summer, and since then had obtained a new passport which he [Det-Insp Hanrahan] now had in his possession.
He added that Evans and his girlfriend have not been seen since Sunday and his family are "concerned" about him.
Det Insp Hanrahan told the hearing that Evans had taken a loan of one of the family cars.
At the time of his application for a change in his bail conditions to travel to Spain last June, gardai had opposed the move, arguing that the strength of evidence against him and the seriousness of the crime made him a potential flight risk.
Evans was successful in his application, but the costs of were awarded against him.
He is understood to have spent two weeks in Spain before returning to Ireland.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge John O'Hagan and Judge Ann Ryan, issued a warrant for the arrest of Evans and remanded Kelly and McGrath on continuing bail.
A previous 55-day trial of Evans and his co-accused collapsed at the Special Criminal Court in January 2015 after a failure in evidence disclosure.
The court delivered its ruling after the disclosure of previously privileged material contained in a statement given in July 2013 by witness David Cullen to gardai.
Cullen (30), with a last address in Balbriggan, was allegedly part of the murder plan but turned State witness against his former co-accused Evans, McGrath and Kelly.
They had pleaded not guilty to murdering Butterly.
Evans and McGrath also denied unlawful possession of a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and seven rounds of 9mm ammunition on the same date.
They also pleaded not guilty to intent to endanger life at the car park of The Huntsman Inn on the same date.
A retrial was ordered which was due to begin yesterday.