Protected witness identifies Gareth Hutch murder accused on CCTV in court
“I was afraid. I was afraid for my life and my kids’ lives,” Mary McDonnell tells trial
Mourners attend the funeral of Gareth Hutch, who was shot at Avondale House flat complex on Dublin’s North Cumberland Street, in May 2016. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/THE IRISH TIMES
CCTV footage of the fatal shooting of Mr Hutch as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats was also shown to the witness.
The witness identified Mr Keogh and another man dressed in a grey top in the carpark of Avondale House and close to the stairwell of the flats complex.
Mary McDonnell gave evidence on Tuesday that Mr Keogh said he was “going to get” Gareth Hutch “before he gets me” the night before Mr Hutch was shot dead. She said she was “shaking” when two of the accused called to her flat and wiped down handguns on the evening before Mr Hutch was shot dead. The State witness also said Mr Keogh was told by another man “Right Johnny, we are on” before both men chased after Mr Hutch as he emerged from his flat.
Mr 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 May 24th, 2016. He died as a result of four gun shot injuries.
A brother and sister as well as another man are on trial accused of murdering Mr Hutch.
Thomas Fox (31) with an address at Rutland Court, Dublin 1, Regina Keogh (41) from Avondale House, Cumberland Street North, Dublin 1 and Jonathan Keogh (32) of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Hutch.
Mr Fox has also denied unlawfully possessing a Makarov 9mm handgun on May 23rd, 2016 at the same place.
Ms McDonnell was originally charged with withholding information but that charge was dropped and she had been given immunity from prosecution.
In his opening speech, prosecution counsel Paul Burns SC said it was the State’s case that Ms McDonnell had been encouraged by Regina Keogh and her brother Jonathan Keogh to allow him use her flat “as a base” to wait for Mr Hutch prior to the attack. Her kitchen window had a view into Mr Hutch’s flat. Ms McDonnell has been given immunity from prosecution.
The prosecution also contend that Jonathan 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, Mr AB, were the shooters.
The court heard on Tuesday there was a knock at Ms McDonnell’s door on the morning of May 24th and when she went to answer it Mr Keogh was there with another man who she had never met before. They came into her flat and put on gloves which Regina had left for them the previous evening.
Giving evidence for a second day, Ms McDonnell told prosecution counsel Mr Burns that Mr Keogh was wearing a black balaclava, a black hoodie, black bottoms and either navy or blue runners on the morning of the shooting.
The key witness testified that she did not see Mr Keogh’s face when he was in her flat that morning but he lifted up the balaclava to talk on his mobile phone from time to time.
“Johnny was sweating, I was mainly looking on the ground,” she said.
She agreed Mr Keogh was also wearing a type of neck warmer, which was shown to the court. “He had the balaclava and this up all over his neck,” she said. The court heard he also had two mobile phones on him.
When asked by counsel if this man was Mr Keogh, she said: “I know Johnny’s face off by heart.” She said that while she only saw “a bit of his face”, she agreed this man was Mr Keogh.
The 45-year-old said the other man was not wearing a balaclava and she could see his face. He was wearing a grey tracksuit with his hood up and white runners, she said.
Ms McDonnell was then shown a compilation of CCTV footage from May 23rd in which she identified the three accused in the vicinity of Avondale House.
CCTV footage of the morning of the fatal shooting of Mr Hutch as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats was also shown to Ms McDonnell.
The witness identified Mr Keogh and another man dressed in a grey top in the carpark of Avondale House at 6.46am and then moving towards the stairwell of the flats complex.
She identified Gareth Hutch leaving his flat at 9.53am and walking towards a black car.
Ms McDonnell identified Mr Keogh and the other man in the CCTV footage leaving her flat at 9.53am and coming down the stairwell. “They are running out with guns in their hands, that’s the young fella and Jonathan Keogh,” she said.
When asked by Mr Burns if she recognised the two men in the carpark she said: “That’s Jonathan Keogh and the other fella.”
Ms McDonnell said she was invited to stay in Regina’s flat after the shooting as her home had been declared a crime scene.
The following day she was arrested at Mountjoy Garda Station and gave a number of garda interviews. Asked why she did not initially tell gardaí what she knew about Mr Hutch’s murder, Mrs McDonnell responded: “I was afraid. I was afraid for my life and my kids’ lives.”
Ms McDonnell agreed she had some health problems and mental issues. The witness became emotional when asked how she spent her days and if she went out much, saying she only socialised with Regina. She agreed she was seen in CCTV footage wearing her house coat and said this was how she normally dressed.
At the opening of the trial, Mr Burns told the court that the killing of Mr Hutch was not a spontaneous or spur of the moment act but a “brutal and callous murder”. “It was premeditated and a significant amount of planning had gone into it,” counsel said.
The prosecution say the three co-accused each had their own part to play in bringing about the death of Mr Hutch.
The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh.