Protected witness keen to go home after Gareth Hutch murder case

Mary McDonnell giving evidence in trial of Thomas Fox and siblings Regina and Jonathan Keogh

Gardaí outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street, Dublin following the fatal shooting of Gareth Hutch on May 24th, 2016. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

Gardaí outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street, Dublin following the fatal shooting of Gareth Hutch on May 24th, 2016. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

 

A protected witness who identified murder accused Johnathan Keogh as one of the shooters of Gareth Hutch has told his trial that she wants to return home to the Dublin flat complex where the shooting took place.

Mary McDonnell was cross-examined for a second day at the Special Criminal Court on Thursday.

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 on May 24th, 2016. He died as a result of four gun shot injuries.

A brother and sister as well as another man, all from Dublin 1, are on trial accused of murdering Mr Hutch.

Thomas Fox (31), of Rutland Court; Regina 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.

The trial previously heard that Ms McDonnell’s flat was used to keep watch on Mr Hutch before the murder as his home was visible from her kitchen. The witness was originally charged with withholding information but that charge was dropped and she had been given immunity from prosecution. She has been moved elsewhere and is living under garda protection.

Ms McDonnell told Seán Guerin SC, for Mr Keogh, that she had informed her family liaison officer “about three or four times” in the last two years that she wanted to return to her home. She agreed with the barrister that the gardaí do not like that fact.

Expectation

Mr Guerin asked the witness if it was her expectation that she would be able to go home when this trial was completed. She replied that it was.

“Have gardaí­ made this clear to you?” asked Mr Guerin.

Ms McDonnell replied: “No I made it myself, just when it is over I can go back to my place.”

Mr Guerin asked the witness what was stopping her from going home and she said gardaí­ told her they did not want her to.

Counsel then put the contents of a number of interviews Ms McDonnell conducted with gardaí­in May 2016.

Mr Guerin asked if she understood what Det Kevin Keys meant when he put it to her during interview that she and her girls “could be in the shit?”.

Ms McDonnell replied: “I think he meant I was in danger or something.”

Mr Guerin suggested that gardaí meant she was in danger and they would protect her. Ms McDonnell agreed with this.

Counsel asked the witness if she understood what Det Keys meant when he told her that gardaí­wanted to protect her but that could not be done until “the whole thing was moved on”.

Ms McDonnell said she did not understand what he meant and Mr Guerin suggested to her that Det Keys meant gardaí could not protect her until she started answering their questions.

Love

Mr Guerin further asked Ms McDonnell if she remembered another garda saying to her that she did not love her children.

Ms McDonnell said she did not remember this but she accepted Mr Guerin’s suggestion that it was a “deeply offensive and hurtful” thing to say.

She also agreed with the barrister that it was “equally as offensive and hurtful” when gardaí suggested to her that by not answering their questions, she was putting her children’s lives in danger.

Ms McDonnell previously gave evidence that Mr Keogh said he was “going to get” Mr Hutch “before he gets me” the night before the shooting.

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