Wednesday 19 September 2018

Man accused of Gareth Hutch murder 'swore on his baby's life' he didn't kill him, court hears

Gareth Hutch
Gareth Hutch

Eimear Cotter

A DUBLIN man accused of murdering Gareth Hutch swore on his baby daughter's life and told his ex-girlfriend he hadn't killed him, a trial has heard.

Denise King knew there was a threat on the life of her ex-boyfriend Jonathan Keogh (32), and when his sister Regina Keogh (41) came to her home soon after the killing and asked her to bring an envelope of cash to him she decided "f** it, I'll go to Belfast".

However, before deciding to bring the money to Belfast, Ms King went to "Finglas on the sunbeds", and also went to the shops and collected some DVDs.

She later counted the cash and there was €2,000 cash in €50 notes in it.

Ms King was giving evidence before the Special Criminal Court in the trial of two men and a woman charged with the murder of Mr Hutch.

Mr Keogh (32), his sister Regina and Thomas Fox (31) have pleaded not guilty before the Special Criminal Court to the murder of Mr Hutch on May 24, 2016.

Mr Hutch (36), a nephew of Gerry "The Monk" Hutch, was shot dead outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street.

It is the State's case that Mr Keogh, of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting.

Ms King said she'd been in a relationship with Johnny Keogh but it ended in November 2015.

They'd no contact until March 2016, a week before she gave birth to their daughter.

After she had the baby, Ms King said Mr Keogh started coming up to see his daughter.

Ms King said there were security cameras near her flat and "due to the threat on his life" he felt safe there.

The court heard Mr Keogh would often contact her late at night and ask her if he could stay with her.

He slept on the sofa on the Sunday night before the shooting, she said.

Mr Keogh also stayed in her home on the Monday night before the murder.

He came into her home about 1am that night, and she later overheard him on his phone telling someone he'd had "a fight with the Hutch fella".

On the day Mr Hutch was killed, Ms King said she met a friend in the park. She was at home, some time after 2.30pm, when Regina Keogh arrived.

Ms King said Ms Keogh had money in her hand and asked her to bring it to Belfast.

She later counted it and there was €2,000.

Ms King said she did believe Mr Keogh had a threat on his life and he was scared. She told prosecutor Paul Burns SC she knew this because he had shown her three GIM (Garda Information Message) forms.

The witness said Mr Keogh told her on the Sunday that he planned to leave the country the next day. He also told her on the Monday that he planned to leave on the Tuesday.

Ms King said she got the 7pm bus to Belfast on May 24, 2016.

When she arrived to Belfast, Ms King said she went to her sister's home. Mr Keogh rang her. He was in a pub. She said she asked him "what are you doing in a pub if your life is in danger".

Ms King said a woman she didn't know collected her and brought her to the pub.

Mr Keogh and a "really smartly dressed man in his late 50s" were in the pub. They stayed drinking for about 40 minutes before they went for some Chinese food.

Ms King said it was then too late to go back to her sister's house so the woman organised a room for her and Mr Keogh in the Holiday Inn.

When they went to their room, Ms King said she asked Mr Keogh if he shot Mr Hutch.

She said he swore on the baby's life that he didn't do it.

Ms King said she "left it at that" and gave him the money.

The next morning, Ms King said Johnny got his hair cut, bought a new grey tracksuit and then he got the ferry to Scotland. He seemed "sad", she said.

Ms King got the bus back to Dublin, and when she later looked at her mobile phone she had two texts from Mr Keogh.

The first said he was sorry he had to leave and she was to bring up their daughter in the way she had been.

The second text asked her why she hadn't answered, and said she was probably off with someone else.

The trial continues.

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