Tuesday 17 July 2018

Teen who claims to have recognised voice of Gareth Hutch murder accused cross examined at trial

Jonathan Keogh and Thomas Fox.
Jonathan Keogh and Thomas Fox.

Eimear Cotter

A TEENAGER who said she recognised the voice of murder accused Jonathan Keogh in her mother's flat the morning Gareth Hutch was killed has never had a "one on one conversation" with him, a trial heard.

Jessica McDonnell, now 19, told the Special Criminal Court that she would have been "in the same room" as Mr Hutch on a number of occasions but she "never spoke to him directly".

She may have said "hello" to him a few times.

Ms McDonnell was being cross examined before the Special Criminal Court in the trial of two men and a woman charged with the murder of Mr Hutch.

Jonathan Keogh (32), his sister Regina Keogh (41) 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.

It is alleged Mr Fox, of Rutland Court, Dublin 1, and Ms Keogh, of Avondale House, were instrumental in planning the murder, and Mr Keogh and another man were the shooters.

Ms McDonnell's evidence had been interrupted pending a ruling by the three-judge court on the admissibility of a statement she gave to gardai the day after the murder.

In her direct evidence, Ms McDonnell said that on the morning of the shooting she was awakened by loud banging on the front door.

She gave direct evidence that she heard men's voices but didn't recognise them.

However, in her statement she told gardai she recognised one of the voices as that of Jonathan Keogh.

Prosecutor Paul Burns SC had asked that Ms McDonnell be given an opportunity to refresh her memory and reread her statement, but defence lawyer Sean Guerin SC had objected to this, as Ms McDonnell had not expressed any difficulties with her memory.

In a judgement this morning, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, ruled that Ms McDonnell's statement was admissible as evidence.

During his subsequent cross examination, Mr Guerin put it to Ms McDonnell she had been awoken by the loud banging and may have been "confused" when she heard the men's voices in her flat.

"I'm confident that my statement is 100 per cent true", said Ms McDonnell, though she said she couldn't fully remember now what happened that morning or what she had said in her statement.

"Is there at least a possibility that you could have been mistaken [in your statement]", asked Mr Guerin.

"I don't think I am but there's always a possibility", she said.

Mr Guerin also put it to Ms McDonnell that she'd never had a direct conversation with Mr Keogh.

The witness accepted this, saying she knew him but was not friends with him. She said she'd never spoken directly to him, though they would have said hello to each other.

Asked when she last had contact with Mr Keogh, prior to the murder, Ms McDonnell said she had been with her father when Mr Keogh stopped to sympathise with him after the death of her grandmother. This happened in April 2016, just weeks before Mr Hutch's death.

The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh.

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