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Verdicts in Gareth Hutch murder trial to be handed down in October

Hutch was shot dead as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street in Dublin.

JUDGES AT THE Special Criminal Court will deliver verdicts in the case of the three Dubliners accused of murdering Gareth Hutch in October, after hearing legal submissions from the prosecution and defence today.

Hutch (36), nephew of Gerry “the monk” Hutch was shot dead as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street in Dublin on the morning of 24 May, 2016. He died as a result of four gunshot injuries.

The prosecution contend that Jonathan Keogh (33) threatened to kill Hutch the evening before the shooting, that Thomas Fox (31) and Regina Keogh (41) were instrumental in planning the murder, and Keogh and another man, Mr AB, were the shooters.

Fox with an address at Rutland Court, Dublin 1, Ms Keogh from Avondale House, Cumberland Street North, Dublin 1 and Mr Keogh of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Hutch.

Fox has also denied unlawfully possessing a Makarov 9mm handgun on 23 May, 2016 at the same place.

Justice Tony Hunt, presiding at the non-jury court, said today that it had been “a long trial”.

The judge said that verdicts will be given “as quick as it can be done”. However, he said it was “three trials within a trial” and the judges would have to consider the evidence against each co-accused.

The judge also said that a verdict in the case of Frederick ‘Freddie’ Thompson, whose trial for the murder of David Douglas closed last month, would have to be given priority to this case.

Verdicts in the trial of the three Dubliners accused of murdering Gareth Hutch will be handed down on October 8, he said.

Prosecution counsel Paul Burns SC said in his closing speech last week that the three co-accused had put “considerable thought and preparation” into Hutch’s “truly shocking” killing which was not a “spur of the moment” attack.

Burns submitted that for whatever reason Jonathan Keogh and Regina Keogh believed that Gareth Hutch posed some sort of threat to their safety. The only way to remove that threat, he said, was to kill Hutch.

The barrister said it was an unfortunate coincidence that Fox and Mr Keogh “turned up” at Mary McDonnell’s flat on the evening before the killing to clean their guns and less than 12 hours later Hutch was “gunned down” in the car park of the flats complex.

McDonnell (45) was initially arrested on suspicion of murdering Hutch and later charged with withholding information. However, that charge was subsequently withdrawn and she has been given immunity from prosecution.

The killing of Hutch, Burns said, did not start in the car park on 24 May, it was planned “well in advance” and various communications had to be maintained to ensure everything was “running smoothly”.

Seamus Clarke SC, for Fox, who is accused of helping to plan the murder of Hutch and of being the getaway driver for the shooters, said in his closing speech that his client withdrew from the alleged joint enterprise to kill him, albeit late in the day.

However, the prosecution said any attempt by Fox to leave where he was parked on the morning of the shooting, rather than remain in his white Ford Transit van, did not stand up to scrutiny.

Clarke said witness McDonnell gave evidence that Mr Keogh received phone calls from Fox in her flat on the morning of the shooting, telling him he wanted to leave.

In relation to the firearm charge against his client, Clarke said the court would have to ask themselves if Fox was acting under coercion and duress at the time. Fox told gardaí in his interviews that his co-accused Mr Keogh told him he would “get it” if he did not do as Mr Keogh said and that a gun was “pushed into” his hand.

Sean Guerin SC, for Jonathan Keogh, told the court in his closing speech that the prosecution’s case against his client had been presented in a manner reminiscent of a “Jackson Pollock painting”, with “splashes” of evidence without any analysis.

Guerin said Mr Keogh had the misfortune to be in a “very public row” with Mr Hutch on the day before the shooting, an individual that counsel said “other people wanted to kill”.

The prosecution had failed to mention that Mr Keogh was fearful for himself, he said, and had received notice of threats on his life by gardaí.

Mary McDonnell’s evidence was “unreliable”, Guerin said, and it was “only” her testimony that placed Mr Keogh in Avondale House on the morning of the attack.

McDonnell insisted in her evidence to the court that Mr Keogh was in her flat on the morning Hutch was shot dead, despite telling the court that she had only seen part of his face. The protected witness also identified Mr Keogh from CCTV footage as one of the gunmen who carried out the attack on Hutch.

Patrick Gageby SC, for Regina Keogh, said in his closing speech last Friday that McDonnell was a “complicit and willing participant” in Hutch’s murder and downplayed her role in order to get a “great bargain”.

The defence barrister said McDonnell told untruths to gardai and had attempted to “pull the wool over the eyes” of the non-jury court in aspects of her evidence.

The State witness had pointed her finger at Ms Keogh who had been a “stalwart” friend to her, Gageby submitted.

The mother of five’s case reside “entirely” in McDonnell’s evidence, the barrister said, and it would be very dangerous to convict his client on her account.

The prosecution contend that McDonnell was encouraged by her “best friend” and neighbour Regina Keogh to allow Jonathan Keogh use her flat “as a base” to wait for Hutch prior to the attack. Her kitchen window had a view into Hutch’s flat.

It is the State’s case that Ms Keogh went up to McDonnell’s flat on the night prior to the shooting and gave her rubber gloves to be used by the attackers the following day. Gageby said it was more likely that McDonnell provided the gloves and not Regina.

At the opening of the trial nine weeks ago, the prosecution told the court that the three co-accused each had their own part to play in bringing about the death of Hutch.

Presiding judge Justice Hunt, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh, remanded the three accused in custody until October 8, when the court will deliver verdicts in the case.

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Alison O'Riordan

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