Murder accused said he was ‘going to get’ Gareth Hutch, trial told

Witness alleges men came to door and asked for baby wipes which they used to clean guns

A protected witness has told a murder trial that she was "shaking" when two of the accused called to her flat and wiped down handguns on the evening before Gareth Hutch was shot dead.

Mary McDonnell, a State witness, said that the following morning Jonathan Keogh, one of the accused, was told by another man 'Right Johnny we are on' before the pair chased after Mr Hutch as he emerged from his flat. She said Mr Keogh has previously said he was "going to get" Mr Hutch.

Amid heightened security arrangements at the Criminal Courts of Justice today in Dublin, Mary McDonnell gave evidence in the trial of three people from Dublin 1 who are accused of murdering Mr Hutch.

Mr Hutch (36), a nephew of Gerry 'the Monk' Hutch, was shot dead as he got into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street on the morning of May 24th, 2016.

Mr Keogh, his sister Regina and another man are on trial at the non-jury, three-judge court accused of murdering Mr Hutch.

Thomas Fox (31), of Rutland Court; Ms Keogh (41), of Avondale House; and Mr Keogh (32), of Gloucester Place, 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 location.

In his opening speech, prosecution counsel Paul Burns SC said Ms McDonnell’s evidence would be “important” in this trial. He said it was the State’s case that Ms McDonnell had been encouraged by Ms Keogh and Mr Keogh to allow him use her flat “as a base” to wait for Mr Hutch prior to the attack as her kitchen window had a view into Mr Hutch’s flat.

Immunity

Ms McDonnell has been given immunity from prosecution.

The prosecution also contend that Mr Keogh threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting, that Mr Fox and Ms Keogh were instrumental in planning the murder, and Mr Keogh and another man were the shooters.

Facing away from the three accused, who were sitting together in the dock, Ms McDonnell told prosecution counsel Mr Burns that she was married and had some family from a previous relationship. She lived in a flat at Avondale House and her husband was in a residential rehab centre.

She said she moved into Avondale House 17 years ago and the first person she got to know was Ms Keogh. She agreed with Mr Burns that it was possible to see Mr Hutch’s flat from her kitchen sink and her bedroom overlooked the carpark at the flats complex.

She agreed that she and Ms Keogh were “close friends” in May 2016 and they would help each other out if one of them ran out of cigarettes, sugar or teabags. She said she knew Mr Keogh but “not really well”.

Ms McDonnell told the court she knew Mr Fox only as “Tossy”, adding that she did not know his full name in May 2016 but would have seen him around with Mr Keogh.

The day before the shooting, Ms McDonnell said she was alone in the flat and could hear a bit of an argument in the carpark between Mr Keogh and Mr Hutch.

When she looked out the window she saw a man in a cream coat who was there to buy a car from Ross Hutch, a cousin of the deceased. She said as this man was taking his belongings out of his car and putting them into “Gar’s” car, Mr Keogh began chasing him around the car with a knife. Mr Fox got out of the car but did not do anything and then Ms Keogh told her brother “to come in”, she said.

Argument

The witness said Gareth Hutch, Ross Hutch and Mr Keogh were in the carpark at the time and that Gareth Hutch and Mr Keogh were having an argument. Ms McDonnell testified that she only knew Gareth Hutch and Ross Hutch from “going in and out of the flats” as they lived there.

Mr Keogh then told Gareth Hutch if anything happened to Ms Keogh he was coming after him.

“He (Mr Keogh) was bulling up, getting angry and going red in the face,” said Ms McDonnell. The witness agreed with counsel that she did not think Gareth Hutch had said anything to Mr Keogh, it was all a “one-way conversation”.

Ms McDonnell said when she told Ms Keogh the fight appeared to be over as the two men were shaking hands, she said: “No, that’s only the beginning”.

The witness said Gareth Hutch went up to his flat and a few minutes later called Ms Keogh over to his flat. While there Ms Keogh got a phone number for Gareth’s uncle, Mega.

“She told Johnny she got the phone number off Gar and after a while he and Tossy came up to my flat,” said Ms McDonnell.

Ms McDonnell said Ms Keogh gave the phone number to Mr Keogh in her flat, who rang the number “straight away”. Ms McDonnell said the conversation was loud and she heard Gareth’s uncle say: “I’ve nothing to do with them two gob shites.”

The witness said that in a phone conversation later that day, Mr Keogh was angry and said: “I’m going to get him before he gets me”, adding that he was referring to Gareth Hutch. The witness said she did not think much of it and Mr Fox was sitting there laughing.

The witness said Ms Keogh had asked her on the previous Saturday if she would do something for her brother and if he could sit in her flat for a while.

“I said ‘For what?’, she didn’t say anything,” said Ms McDonnell, adding that she thought it was a joke but money had been mentioned.

Husband

The court heard that after Mr Keogh and Mr Fox left her flat on May 24, Ms McDonnell told Ms Keogh she could not let her brother sit in her flat as her husband would not like it. Ms Keogh replied: “That’s the only way it is going to happen, if not Jonathan is going to be shot.”

At 8.30pm that evening, Ms McDonnell said she went down to Ms Keogh’s flat and stayed until later that night. Mr Keogh and Mr Fox arrived but she could not hear what was going on. When she was leaving at 11.30pm, she said Ms Keogh told her: “They will be up to you.”

The witness said she made a face at her friend as she did not understand what she was talking about.

A few minutes later, there was a knock on her door and it was Mr Keogh and Mr Fox. They asked her for baby wipes which she gave them, thinking it was for wiping their hands.

“Next of all I looked in their hands and saw two guns, they were using the baby wipes to clean them, I was shaking at the door,” she said.

Ms McDonnell said they wiped over the black-handled guns and inside the “roundy bit and the thing you pull, they wiped all of them.

“I was just praying they would get out of my house with them,” she said.

Ms McDonnell gave them an Aldi bag to put the guns in and they left her flat with them in the bag.

Ms McDonnell then phoned Ms Keogh and told her she did not want them in her house and said she had already told her that. Ms Keogh then came up to her flat with a handful of rubber gloves for Ms McDonnell to give her brother the next day.

On the morning of May 24th, Ms McDonnell was in bed when there was a knock on the door at 7.30am. The witness said “the door nearly came in on top of her” when she went to answer it. Mr Keogh was there with another man who she had never met before.

Gloves

Mr Keogh took the gloves, which his sister had left for him, and both men put them. Ms McDonnell put the remaining gloves in her house coat.

“I just sat on the chair, I wasn’t allowed move,” she said, adding that Mr Keogh was running in and out of the sitting room to her bedroom, making sure a car would not get locked in.

She said the other man was smoking cigarettes and Mr Keogh told him not “to leave any evidence lying around” after he threw one of the butt’s in the bin.

The witness said Mr Keogh was in contact with Mr Fox on the phone as he was getting worried sitting in his white van.

“Tossy was telling him to hurry up, Johnny was saying they would be up in five minutes and not to leave,” she said.

Ms McDonnell said the other man in the kitchen said “right Johnny we are on” just as Gareth Hutch was coming out of his flat. She said they left the flat and ran after the deceased. Ms McDonnell went into the toilet and heard Ms Keogh screaming a few minutes later so she went downstairs.

When she asked Regina what had happened, she said “Gar” was after getting shot.

Ms McDonnell went back to her flat and was just sitting down when Gardaí came in and began to search it. She said she was about to empty an ashtray but they took it off her. She told gardaí she had to clean up the flat as she was having a party there but was told there would be no party as it was now a crime scene.

The trial continues before presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh.

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