Facebook picture led detectives to fugitive killer's Costa hideout
THE former girlfriend of murdered Real IRA leader Alan Ryan was the vital link that led to on-the-run killer Dean Evans’ capture after they fled the country on the eve of his murder trial.
Evans (27) was yesterday handed a mandatory life sentence for shooting dead father-of-three Peter Butterly in 2013.
Today Independent.ie can reveal the lengths that gardai and Spanish police went to in order to track Evans down after he fled in January last year.
In a painstaking investigation detectives discovered that:
- Evans and his girlfriend Stacey Roche used relatives’ passports to fly to Malaga.
- Evans applied for a work permit in Spain using a relative’s passport.
- Gardai trawled social media sites, which led to a Facebook photo of Roche on a night out with colleagues from a bar.
- Following Roche would lead to the apartment she was living in with Evans.
An investigator into the murder has told how “good old-fashioned police work” led to Evans being arrested and brought to justice.
“We had his passport as part of his bail conditions so we had a good idea that he did not use his own ID to leave the country,” he said.
“We then found that an Evans and a Roche had left through Dublin Airport but had passports with different christian names, and when we went back over CCTV we could see it was Dean and Stacey.
“We knew then that they flew to Malaga, so the search moved to there, but it would take 15 months of detective work to finally get an arrest.”
The source said the passports used by Evans and Roche were flagged.
Some weeks later, Evans used the passport he was travelling on to apply for a work visa, and gardai were notified.
“We trawled through social media accounts of various pubs and clubs, because we had a suspicion they would need to be working for money,” the investigator said.
“We had a big breakthrough when we spotted Stacey Roche in a photograph. She was on a work night out with a particular bar.”
Surveillance was put on the pub, and Roche was seen being collected by a taxi, which was followed by Spanish police.
Gardai from Dublin then flew to Spain to positively identify Evans, and he was finally captured leaving the apartment.
“He first thought he was being attacked or robbed, but was slightly relieved when he found out it was the police. But he knew the game was up at that stage,” said the investigator.
Roche was a former girlfriend of RIRA boss Alan Ryan, who was gunned down in 2012 in Donaghmede.
In the Special Criminal Court, Evans apologised to his victim’s family and said he had made decisions as a younger man that he would not make today.
Evans, of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, Dublin, was sentenced to life for the murder of Mr Butterly (35), who was shot dead outside the Huntsman Inn, Gormanston, Co Meath, on March 6, 2013.
Detective Sergeant Liam Archbold said Evans gunned down Mr Butterly in the pub car park in a planned operation.
Describing the garda operation that led to Evans’ arrest, he said officers were monitoring a silver Toyota the day before the shooting and noted that it had travelled to Balbriggan.
Mr Butterly, who lived in Dunleer, Co Louth, had arranged to meet someone in the car park of the Huntsman Inn the following day.
He arrived at about 1.55pm and at 2.06pm the Toyota Corolla drove in and trapped Mr Butterly’s car.
Evans fired two shots, which struck the bonnet and windscreen of Mr Butterly’s car.
Mr Butterly tried to escape on foot but was shot three times by Evans and died of his wounds.
Gardai were nearby and arrested Evans and others.
Evans was due to go on trial in January 2017, but failed to show up.
He was arrested last April in Spain and surrendered to be returned home so he could plead guilty to murder.
Evans is the third man to receive a life sentence for Mr Butterly’s murder after the driver of the car, Edward McGrath (36), of Landale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght, and Sharif Kelly (48), of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan, were convicted last year.
Three others are due to go on trial later this year on the same charge.
They are Kevin Braney (43), of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght, Michael McDermott (58), of Garrymore, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, and Frank Murphy (58), of McDonough Caravan Park, Bettystown, Co Meath.