Tuesday 19 June 2018

'Why didn't he mention the prostitute to police, she could have been a witness' - Gary Hutch murder trial hears

James Quinn is on trial for the murder of Gary Hutch
James Quinn is on trial for the murder of Gary Hutch

Gerard Couzens, News Media

THE jury in the James Quinn murder trial has been sent out after the alleged killer insisted he did not gun down Gary Hutch outside his Spanish home.

Dubliner Quinn, who state prosecutors claim pulled the trigger or drove the stolen getaway car, said in a last court address: “I was never in the car, I was never at the apartment and I didn’t have anything to do with the murder.”

The Irishman was offered the opportunity to protest his innocence after three days of evidence and lawyers’ closing speeches before the five women and four male jurors retired to consider their verdict just after 2.30pm local time today.

Quinn - facing a life sentence if he is found guilty of the September 24 2015 murder which sparked a deadly feud between the Kinahan and Hutch families - shook hands with his lawyer as he was led away.

Gary Hutch
Gary Hutch

A quick verdict was ruled out as jurors were told to return to court tomorrow morning to update the judge on their progress.

State prosecutor Jose Barba sensationally admitted late yesterday Quinn could have been the getaway driver rather than the balaclava-clad killer as he handed the court an alternative ‘B’ indictment to be considered alongside his main pre-trial one.

He said in his closing speech before jurors were taken to a hotel to start deliberating on Quinn’s fate he was convinced the dad-of-one had personally killed Hutch and insisted it had been demonstrated in court.

But he told the jury he was also offering them the option of convicting Quinn on the same charge of murder - but ruling the 35-year-old was the driver and lookout who helped make the execution happen - so they did not have to acquit him if they had doubts he was the gunman.

Referring to the baseball cap containing the Irishman’s DNA that was recovered from the BMW X3 Hutch’s killers tried to torch near the murder scene, he added: “Quinn has been in prison for more than a year and a half.

“I think if he ever admitted to regretting anything it wouldn’t be the murder of Gary Hutch but the fact he didn’t destroy the now famous baseball cap which has ended up certifying his involvement in the killing.

“The baseball cap is crucial.”

Describing Quinn’s claims he was in bed with a wedding hangover and a prostitute when Hutch was gunned down on a gated estate in Miraflores near Fuengirola as “a collection of the outlandish”, he added: “Why didn’t he say it when he was arrested and questioned by police? If he had, that woman could have been brought as a witness.”

Mr Barba told the jury that although there was no written contract to prove Quinn was a hired assassin for the Kinahan family, there was evidence pointing to the fact he was a paid killer and murdered Hutch for money on the orders of an organised crime boss.

“We don’t know exactly the motives behind the murder but the victim was the nephew of the head of the Hutch clan leader Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch and obviously an important figure,” he said.

“You can’t bring him back to life with a guilty verdict but you can see to it justice is done.”

Quinn’s defence solicitor Pedro Apalategui urged the jury to put aside the images they had seen of police giving evidence behind doors or addressing the court with balaclavas on which were not conducive to the presumption of innocence.

He said there was no proof whatsoever to back up the prosecution claim Quinn killed for cash and insisted the possibility of manipulation existed in the recovery of the baseball cap with his client’s DNA on it from the getaway car.

“The state prosecutor says the appearance of the baseball cap is crucial and you can convict the defendant on the basis of a CCTV screen grab he says shows James Quinn with the cap on inside the estate where Gary Hutch was living,” he told jurors.

“But that is totally not the case.

“If you can put that cap on his head inside the complex you could find him guilty.

“But the state prosecutor himself has placed it in doubt.

“It’s the state prosecutor in his alternative indictment who removes that cap from James Quinn’s head.”

Quinn has also been tried for illegal weapons possession and faces a three-year prison sentence if convicted.

His defence lawyer says he is innocent of any wrongdoing and wants the jury to acquit him on the weapons and murder charges.

The ongoing gangland feud said to have been sparked by Hutch’s murder has cost the lives of at least 15 people in Ireland and Spain.

Cartel bigwig Daniel Kinahan, who was never arrested over the Hutch killing, is now living in exile in Dubai after leaving his former Costa del Sol base.

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