Wednesday 27 March 2019

Tip-off led to detective’s discovery of two SIM cards at home of Hutch murder accused, trial hears

Gareth Hutch was shot dead.
Gareth Hutch was shot dead.
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

A SENIOR detective found two mobile phone SIM cards at the home of a murder accused after gardai received confidential information about who fatally shot Gareth Hutch, a trial has heard.

Jonathan Keogh (32), his sister Regina Keogh (41) and Thomas Fox (31) have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Hutch on May 24, 2016.

Mr Fox, of Rutland Court, Dublin 1, has also denied having a Makorov handgun in suspicious circumstances on May 23, 2016.

Gareth Hutch (36), a nephew of Gerry Hutch, was shot dead as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street.

It is the State's case that Jonathan Keogh, of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting, that Mr Fox and Ms Keogh were instrumental in planning the murder, and Mr Keogh and another man, Mr AB, were the shooters.

In his evidence, Detective Sergeant Enda O'Sullivan said gardai received confidential information from a named individual who had pursued the two men and had recognised Mr Keogh as one of the shooters.

Sgt O'Sullivan said he obtained a search warrant from Judge Bryan Smyth at Dublin District Court to search a house at Upper Sean McDermott Street, the home of Mr Keogh's father.

The warrant was executed at 3.30pm on May 24 - the day of the shooting.

Sgt O'Sullivan said there was no one present at the time of the search, and entry was forced.

He said a Samsung Galaxy box and a Meteor sim pack were found in a press in the kitchen and a second Meteor sim pack was found inside the kitchen door, over the microwave.

Sgt O'Sullivan said Regina Keogh arrived at the house during the course of the search, and said to gardai "you'll probably be searching my house next".

Sgt O'Sullivan told her he would be searching her flat, and she walked with gardai across the road to her flat at Avondale House. Nothing of evidential value was found at Ms Keogh's flat, the court heard.

This morning, lawyer Sean Guerin SC argued there was no evidential basis for the warrant to search Mr Keogh's father's home, but the three judge Special Criminal Court ruled the warrant was valid.

The court also heard from Garda Damien Murphy who said he was part of a team of gardai who obtained a search warrant and searched Mary McDonnell's flat at Avondale House on May 25, 2016.

Gda Murphy said that as he came into the flats complex he saw Ms McDonnell putting a black bag into a bin.

He went over to the bin and retrieved the bag, which contained a large number of cigarette butts, as well as baby wipes and white surgical gloves.

Gda Murphy said he also retrieved a pack of Huggies baby wipes from the kitchen of McDonnell's flat.

In his opening address to the court earlier this week, prosecutor Paul Burns SC said the evidence of Ms McDonnell would be "important", as the accused had gathered in her home in the hours before the murder.

She has been granted immunity from prosecution, Mr Burns had said.

Gda Murphy said he returned to Ms McDonnell's flat on May 28, 2016 and retrieved a pink dressing gown from the main bedroom, as well as a number of pairs of latex gloves, which were inside it.

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

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