Considerable ‘preparation’ went into Gareth Hutch’s murder
Lawyer for accused Thomas Fox (31) says frail client withdrew from joint enterprise late in the day
Gardaí outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street in Dublin after Gareth Hutch was shot dead on May 24th, 2016. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.
Three Dubliners accused of murdering Gareth Hutch put “considerable thought and preparation” into his killing, a prosecution barrister has told the Special Criminal Court.
In his closing speech, Paul Burns SC said that for whatever reason Jonathan Keogh (32) and Regina Keogh (41) believed Mr Hutch posed some sort of threat to their safety and that the only way to remove the threat was to kill him.
He said it was not only two gunmen that carried out the “brutal” shooting in broad daylight but others had assisted in the execution of the attack.
“One doesn’t need to be the person who pulled the trigger to be guilty of murder,” he said.
Mr Hutch (36), nephew of Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch was shot dead as he got into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street in Dublin on May 24th, 2016. He died as a result of four gun shot injuries.
The prosecution contends that Jonathan Keogh threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting, that Thomas Fox (31) and Regina Keogh were instrumental in planning the murder, and Mr Keogh and another man, ‘Mr AB’, were the shooters.
Mr Fox, of Rutland Court, Dublin 1; Ms Keogh, of Avondale House, North Cumberland Street, Dublin 1; and Mr Keogh, of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Hutch. Mr Fox has also denied unlawfully possessing a Makarov 9 mm handgun on May 23rd, 2016 at the same place.
Mr Burns said Mr Keogh saw himself as the protector of his sister, Regina, and his extended family as he was fearful of an attack on them.
Evidence has been heard that a heated exchange took place between Mr Keogh and Mr Hutch on the day prior to the shooting but it appeared to end with the parties shaking hands.
Mr Burns said Mary McDonnell, who is the key prosecution witness in the trial, had nothing to gain by giving evidence but rather put herself in a very difficult position in which she was “removed” from the small world she resided in and felt comfortable in.
“It is quite clear there is no substantial financial benefit accruing to Ms McDonnell as a result of her giving evidence,” he added.
During the trial the court heard evidence from Ms McDonnell, a protected witness, who identified Mr Keogh from CCTV footage as one of the gunmen who shot Mr Hutch. She was originally charged with withholding information but that charge was dropped and she has been given immunity from prosecution.
What was needed was a safe hide-out to allow the attack take place, Mr Burns said, and Ms McDonnell’s flat was this “ideal location” as it had a view into Mr Hutch’s flat.
“Without that location, the plan was not going to work,” he said.
Mr Burns said neither man challenged Ms McDonnell’s evidence concerning their going to her flat the night before the shooting with guns. The barrister said it was an unfortunate coincidence that Mr Fox and Mr Keogh “turn up” at Ms McDonnell’s flat that evening to clean their guns and less than 12 hours later Mr Hutch is “gunned down” in the car park of the flats complex.
Seamus Clarke SC, for Mr Fox, told the court his client’s role in the murder had been set out by the prosecution as the getaway driver but Mr Fox withdrew from the joint enterprise, albeit late in the day.
It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Fox was in a white Transit van on the morning of the shooting, but due to a change of plans the white van was not required.
Mr Clarke said Ms McDonnell gave evidence that Mr Keogh received phone calls from Mr Fox in her flat on the morning of the shooting, telling him he wanted to leave.
She also said Mr Keogh got annoyed at Mr Fox and told Mr AB “that fucking eejit Tossy, he wants to go now, cause everyone is coming out looking at the van”.
Mr Clarke submitted to the court that this was evidence of Mr Fox’s withdrawal from the joint enterprise.
In relation to the firearm charge against his client, Mr Clarke said the court would have to ask themselves if Mr Fox was acting under coercion and duress at the time. He told gardaí when interviewed that Mr Keogh told him he would “get it” if he did not do as he said and that a gun was “pushed into” his hand.
Mr Clarke submitted that his client’s frailty and vulnerability were evident for all to see.