The murder of Gareth Hutch was "brutal and callous" and involved a significant amount of planning, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
Mr Hutch (36), a nephew of Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch, was shot dead as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street, Dublin on May 24th, 2016.
A brother and sister as well as another man, all from Dublin 1, are accused before the non-jury, three-judge court of the murder.
Thomas Fox (31), of Rutland Court; Regina Keogh (41), of Avondale House, North Cumberland Street; and Jonathan Keogh (32), of Gloucester Place are all charged with the alleged murder of Mr Hutch. They have all pleaded not guilty.
Mr Fox also denied unlawfully possessing a Makarov 9mm handgun on May 23rd, 2016 at the same place.
Opening the prosecution case on Tuesday, Paul Burns SC said the killing of Mr Hutch was a “brutal and callous murder” into which “a significant amount of planning had gone”.
He added: “All three accused were knowingly involved in the preparation.”
Mr Burns said to be guilty of murder, one does not have to actually pull the trigger and that the doctrine of joint enterprise is where participants in crime can all be held jointly responsible.
“Any person who aids, abets, counsels or procures shall be indicted and punished as a principal offender,” he said.
He said Mr Keogh was one of two gunmen who carried out the attack on Mr Hutch. The court heard that Mr Keogh and Mr Fox were well known to each other. He also told the court that Ms Keogh lived on a ground floor flat in Avondale House while Mr Hutch lived in a first floor flat in the same block.
“There is a fourth party believed to be directly involved in the killing and who is currently at large,” he said.
Mr Burns said that on May 23rd, the day before the shooting, a black BMW motor vehicle was parked in the car park of Avondale House. Later that day, Mr Fox and Mr Keogh arrived into the car park in a Honda Civic.
Having driven into the complex, Mr Keogh confronted and chased a man who had been waiting in the car park and Mr Burns said the court will hear more about those details later in the trial.
Mr Burns said the evidence will be that the man was apparently waiting to meet Mr Hutch and/or Ross Hutch in respect of the sale of a motor vehicle. A heated exchange took place between Mr Keogh and Gareth Hutch in the car park but it appeared to end with the parties shaking hands, said counsel.
The court will hear evidence, he said, that later that day a number of persons including Mr Keogh, Mr Fox and Ms Keogh were in Mary McDonnell’s flat which was a first-floor apartment on the same level as Mr Hutch’s and in the same block as Ms Keogh’s.
Mr Burns said it is important to note that from Ms McDonnell’s kitchen, one can view Mr Hutch’s flat and see people coming and going from it.
Evidence will also be heard that when Mr Keogh was in Ms McDonnell’s flat, he had a phone conversation with another member of the extended Hutch family. When in the apartment, Mr Keogh also expressed an intention to kill Mr Hutch, said Mr Burns.
Counsel said the court will hear that before 10am the next day, another man indicated to Mr Keogh that Mr Hutch had left his flat. As Mr Hutch made his way to the car park, Mr Keogh and the other man left Ms McDonnell’s flat and made their way to the carpark.
Mr Burns said the evidence will be that as Mr Hutch was getting into his Volkswagen Passat, the two men ran towards him. Each man was carrying a handgun and Mr Hutch was shot four times, with two shots in the neck, one in his lower back and one in his upper chest. He was pronounced dead at 10.36am that morning.
Mr Burns said the court will hear that all bullets came from a single weapon and the firearms were discarded by the men in the car park.
Both men ran to the black BMW which had been strategically parked in the car park the previous day, he said. There was a possible difficulty getting the car to move and it was abandoned as the two men ran from the complex.
The court will hear that Mr Keogh and the other man ran from Avondale House towards Seán McDermott Street where a silver Skoda was parked at Champion’s Avenue.
“This vehicle can be connected to Mr Keogh and the other man, whom travelled via Buckingham Street,” he said.
The court will hear that Mr Keogh then got out of the car and fled on foot. The vehicle was later found burnt out in Dublin 11.
“There appeared to be a change of plan, instead of using the BMW, the Skoda vehicle had been used,” said Mr Burns.
CCTV footage in Avondale House, the court heard, captured many of the events including the altercation on May 23rd and the actual shooting of Mr Hutch.
The evidence will be that Mr Fox, Mr Keogh and the other man can be connected to the vehicles, said counsel. Gardaí recovered jerry cans of petrol in both the BMW and a Ford Transit which the prosecution say were intended to burn the cars. It appears a paint spray had been used to blacken out the windows of the BMW, he added.
Mr Burns said forensic evidence will connect Mr Fox to the aerosol and jerry can. Forensics will also connect Mr Keogh to clothing in the BMW vehicle and to latex gloves.
The barrister further stated that phones identified by gardaí can be shown to have pinged off phone masts at relevant times and in relevant locations.
Mr Burns said the court will hear that Mr Keogh went to Belfast following the shooting and Ms Keogh arranged for money to be brought to him there. He was later extradited from the UK.
“In essence Mr Keogh was one of the gunmen who directed the attack which killed Mr Hutch,” said counsel.
The barrister said Mr Keogh and Mr Fox were “instrumental” in the planning and carrying out of the attack.
The trial continues on Wedensday before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh.