A witness who gave evidence for the prosecution in the Regency hotel murder trial was at the centre of a garda security operation last night after a perceived threat.
Armed detectives were called to the home of Paul Byrne after information was received that two named members of the Hutch gang were planning to target the house.
Gardai are understood to be investigating the apparent threat, which may be connected to Mr Byrne’s appearance in the Special Criminal Court this week as a witness in the trial of Jason Bonney, who is his brother in law.
Jason Bonney (52) and Paul Murphy (61) are charged with facilitating the murder of drug dealer David Byrne by providing cars to help the hit team escape immediately after the incident.
Their co-accused Gerry Hutch (59) is charged with Byrne’s murder. The men deny the charges.
It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Bonney used his BMW jeep to drive one of the gunmen, Kevin ‘Flat Cap’ Murray, away from the scene after the Regency attack.
Mr Bonney’s denies that he was driving the jeep on the day of the Regency attack claiming instead that it was being driven by his late father William Bonney when it was picked up on CCTV before and after the incident.
Mr Bonney senior died in 2019.
Mr Byrne, who is married to Jason Bonney’s sister Sharon, testified that the couple were having lunch with William Bonney and his wife Greta – Jason’s mother – in their home.
He said that William Bonney never drove the BMW jeep in question at any time and did not leave his home on the afternoon of the murder. The late Mr Bonney he said had not been on good terms with his son for several years.
Mr Byrne was called to rebut testimony from a defence witness who claimed that she was speaking to Jason Bonney in Donaghmede around the same time as the murder was taking place.
Julie McGlynn said she had known Jason Bonney for “30 odd years”. On the day of the murder she said she saw William Bonney driving off in BMW jeep used by the murder gang.
It is understood that information about an alleged threat to Mr Byrne surfaced on Friday afternoon and that the gardai were then called.
Extra armed patrols were monitoring the home last night as gardai began assessing the seriousness of the threat.
According to sources, the claim was that two well known members of the Hutch organised crime group were planning to go to Mr Byrne’s home.
However while potential threats are being taken seriously, it is understood that gardaí believe the named Hutch gang members are unlikely to target a witness such as Mr Byrne whose evidence was confined to his brother-in-law.