Sunday 22 April 2018

Man held in Regency Hotel shooting investigation is to fight extradition

Gardai outside the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra after David Byrne was shot dead
Gardai outside the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra after David Byrne was shot dead

Michael McHugh, Press Association

A MAN alleged to have played a central part in the shooting death of a man at a boxing weigh-in in Dublin is to fight extradition from Northern Ireland to the Republic.

Kevin Murray, 46, was identified by several people at the crime scene at the Regency Hotel in February, a barrister told a Belfast court.

He was arrested by police on Monday evening at a house in Strabane in Co Tyrone on suspicion of murder and firearms offences after a European arrest warrant was issued by Irish authorities.

David Byrne, 33, was gunned down and two others were injured during last winter's attack.

Stephen Ritchie, a barrister who represented the Irish authorities, said: "These are serious offences. Three charges arise out of events on February 5 last at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra in Dublin, when David Byrne was murdered.

"This man is alleged to have played a central part in the offence."

Bail was refused by Belfast recorder Patricia Smyth pending the provision of medical evidence. Doctors believe the suspect may be suffering from multiple sclerosis and he was helped into the dock by two prison officers and a mobility aid.

Mr Ritchie said: "We know in the warrant there is reference to the investigation being conducted with Garda Siochana CCTV footage being examined. Identification of this man was made by several people at the scene."

Murray wore a yellow t-shirt and glasses and was diminutive and bearded.

According to the arrest warrant a separate search of a property in Strabane resulted in a number of items being seized as evidence, Mr Ritchie said.

He added: "He is not at all keen to assist the Garda Siochana in the investigation of these very serious offences."

The lawyer told the court the suspect was arrested at Townsend Street in Strabane, where he has been living. His father also lives in the border town.

He is unemployed and separated from his wife, Mr Ritchie said. He insisted the suspect posed a risk of flight from the jurisdiction.

"You can see that there is an element of disability to this man but nonetheless that does not mean that he could not be removed from the jurisdiction."

Murray's lawyer Des Fahy said his client had been living openly in Strabane since February and had been in contact with police offering to undergo an identification procedure. He also met officers in relation to his personal security.

He said his client had claimed Irish police had conducted "surreptitious identification" of him when he visited a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) station in Strabane in Northern Ireland.

Mr Fahy said: "He is fully engaged in this process and will challenge the application (for extradition) that is being made."

The barrister offered a surety from family members worth £10,000.

He was remanded in custody to appear again at Belfast Recorder's Court on Friday.

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