Wednesday 19 December 2018

Shocking video of Regency gun murder shown to court

The Regency Hotel
The Regency Hotel
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

The Regency Hotel murder trial has been shown a shocking video of the moment a father-of-two was shot "calmly and coldly" by an armed raider disguised as a garda.

The graphic footage captured the shooting dead of David Byrne by a gunman as he lay injured and tried to crawl away in the hotel lobby. He was targeted as he fled the gangland raid amid scenes of panic.

The Special Criminal Court also heard that three journalists had assault rifles pointed at them by armed raiders during the gangland attack.

The two reporters and photographer from Independent News and Media (INM) had been covering a boxing weigh-in event at the hotel when the gunmen arrived and pointed weapons at them.

Evidence was being heard in the trial of Patrick Hutch Jnr (25), who is accused of murdering Mr Byrne (33) in the attack.

Mr Hutch, from Champion's Avenue, in the north inner city, is pleading not guilty to murder and possession of three assault rifles.

Patrick Hutch Jnr
Patrick Hutch Jnr

Mr Byrne, from Crumlin, was shot dead by gunmen dressed as gardaí who stormed the hotel along with a man wearing a blonde woman's wig and another in a flat cap.

Prosecutors claim Mr Hutch was identified as the man dressed as a woman.

They do not allege the accused shot Mr Byrne but that he participated in the February 5, 2016, raid and shared intent to commit the crimes.

In the CCTV footage, the attack was seen to last six minutes.

David Byrne
David Byrne

Garda Michelle Purcell led the court through the video which showed the "man in a wig" and "man in a flat cap" leave the van and enter the hotel at 2.28pm.

The three "tactical team" gunmen, referred to as Tac 1, Tac 2 and Tac 3 then left the van four minutes later, at 2.32pm.

They were all seen returning to the van at 2.34pm.

Inside, the footage showed Mr Byrne running from the direction of the function room into the lobby.

"Tac 1" was seen pointing his gun at Mr Byrne, who fell and skidded across the floor.

"Tac 2" was seen on the footage coming in through the front door and aiming at Mr Byrne again, as he lies mostly out of the frame, only part of his white runners and part of his grey trousers visible.

"Tac 2" was then seen from another camera view jumping up on the reception desk and aiming back down at Mr Byrne, shooting him again.

Photographer Colin O'Riordan and reporter Robin Schiller were working for the 'Herald' and Mr O'Riordan said he heard a gunshot coming from a van before two men dressed as gardaí with ERU-style helmets and Kalashnikov rifles emerged and ran to the hotel entrance.

A second shot was fired and he could "see the smoke coming from the barrel".

He heard another shot and saw the muzzle of what appeared to be another Kalashnikov coming from the window of the van.

The man fired in the air above the head of an innocent person who was walking through and shouted "get the f*** out of here," Mr O'Riordan said.

Mr Schiller said one of the men pointed a gun at him and shouted "get down, get f***ing down." A second gunman said "get the f*** out of here".

'Sunday World' crime correspondent Alan Sherry was working at the event with photographer Ernie Leslie.

Mr Leslie said a hand appeared at the silver van driver's door window, holding an assault rifle.

Mr Sherry said another "chap with an assault rifle" turned and pointed it towards them.

"I shouted at Ernie to reverse the car," he said.

Dublin Fire Brigade paramedic Joe Brady said he saw a man lying in the lobby with "significant, catastrophic head injuries" lying against the reception desk.

Irish Independent

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