Wednesday 23 January 2019

Man who went on run while facing trial for murder of dissident republican arrested in Spain

Went on the run 15 months ago

Dean Evans (left)
Dean Evans (left)
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A Dublin man who went on the run 15 months ago while facing trial for the murder of a dissident republican five years ago has been arrested in Spain.

Dean Evans (27) was one of three men charged in connection with the murder of Peter Butterly on March 6, 2013. 

But days before he was due to face trial in January 2017 Evans disappeared along with his girlfriend.

The Special Criminal Court in Dublin issued a warrant for the arrest of Evans, of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, after he failed to appear to face trial.

He was arrested in Fuengirola in Spain at lunchtime.

Evans, along with Edward McGrath (35) and Sharif Kelly (46), was due to stand trial on charges connected with the murder of Butterly (35), who was shot dead in the car park of the Huntsman Inn, Gormanston, Co Meath.

A car entered the car park and shots were fired at father-of-three Butterly, who tried to flee. He was found collapsed in a corner of the car park and was pronounced dead a short time later.

Kelly, of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan, and McGrath, of Lanndale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght, were both sentenced to life in prison for murder after they were tried in the absence of Evans.

Det Insp William Hanrahan, of the Special Detective Unit, told prosecuting counsel Paul O'Higgins that Evans had signed on in accordance with his bail conditions at Raheny Garda Station the Sunday before the trial was to begin, but had not been seen since.

Det Insp Hanrahan said Evans was granted bail to travel to Spain in the summer of 2016, and since then had obtained a new passport which he [Det-Insp Hanrahan] now had in his possession.

At the time of his application for a change in his bail conditions to travel to Spain in June 2016, gardai had opposed the move, arguing that the strength of evidence against him and the seriousness of the crime made him a potential flight risk.

Evans was successful in his application, but the costs of were awarded against him.

He is understood to have spent two weeks in Spain before returning to Ireland.

A previous 55-day trial of Evans and his co-accused collapsed at the Special Criminal Court in January 2015 after a failure in evidence disclosure.

The court delivered its ruling after the disclosure of previously privileged material contained in a statement given in July 2013 by witness David Cullen to gardai.

Cullen (30), with a last address in Balbriggan, was allegedly part of the murder plan but turned State witness against his former co-accused Evans, McGrath and Kelly.

They had pleaded not guilty to murdering Butterly.

Evans and McGrath also denied unlawful possession of a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and seven rounds of 9mm ammunition on the same date.

They also pleaded not guilty to intent to endanger life at the car park of  The Huntsman Inn on the same date.

A retrial was then ordered - the one which convicted McGrath and Kelly in January of last year.

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