Court told suspect in Regency shooting lies dying in hospital

Kevin Murray unfit to be extradited because of motor neuron disease, barrister tells judge

The Regency Hotel, Dublin, the day after gunmen opened fire, killing David Byrne. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

The Regency Hotel, Dublin, the day after gunmen opened fire, killing David Byrne. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

A Co Tyrone man fighting extradition over his alleged role in a gangland murder at a Dublin hotel is being advised on end of life care, a court has heard.

Kevin Murray’s motor neuron disease is irreversible and deteriorating at such a rapid rate that he is unlikely to ever stand trial on charges linked to the killing of David Byrne, his lawyers argued on Monday.

Barrister Desmond Fahy said: “The active matter under consideration now is whether he be marked not suitable for resuscitation.”

Mr Murray (46), was detained at his home in Townsend Street, Strabane, last September under a European arrest warrant issued by authorities in the Republic. He is wanted in connection with the fatal gun attack at Dublin’s Regency Hotel last February 5th.

Byrne (34), a father of two from the Crumlin area, was shot dead when masked men dressed as gardaí opened fire. His killing ignited a deadly feud between members of the rival Kinahan and Hutch gangs.

Mr Murray is being sought over alleged offences of murder, possession of a firearm with intent, and possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances. It was previously claimed in court that he had stayed overnight at the hotel in preparation for his alleged role in the shooting.

Gardaí investigating the killing allege that Murray can be clearly identified on CCTV footage and photographic evidence.

Rare condition

Mr Murray remains in hospital after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease – a rare condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system.

A judge at Belfast Recorders’ Court is assessing his fitness to stand trial, along with his physical and mental health, before any decision on whether to order his extradition.

Counsel for the Irish State contended that the question should be dealt with by the courts in Dublin. But Mr Fahy claimed any trial will not take place before 2018.

The barrister said his client now depends on a tube for feeding and cannot be discharged back to prison custody. “My most recent instructions are that he has received a consultation from his doctor dealing with end of life care,” he told the court.

Judge Patricia Smyth heard that Mr Murray is due to give a response within days to the question of whether he should be resuscitated.

“This is a man confined to bed, unable to move any upper limbs, unable to feed himself,” his lawyer said. “His family want to spend as much time with him as possible at the hospital in Belfast before matters reach what appears an inevitable conclusion.”

Proceedings were adjourned to give Irish authorities time to decide if they want to instruct medical experts to carry out assessments.