Witness denies making up evidence about Gareth Hutch’s murder

Mary McDonnell on stand 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 has denied fabricating her evidence about the fatal shooting of Gareth Hutch in Dublin two years ago and winding her best friend, one of those accused of the murder, into a narrative.

Mary McDonnell was cross-examined on Friday in the Special Criminal Court by Patrick Gageby SC, counsel for murder accused Regina Keogh, who the witness said had been a good neighbour and was her best friend.

She agreed with Mr Gageby that she had been in hospital a lot and whilst there, Ms Keogh would look after her children.

Ms Keogh is on trial at the non-jury court along with her brother and another man, all from Dublin 1, charged with the murder of Mr Hutch (36), a nephew of Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch. He was shot dead as he got into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street, Dublin 1 on May 24th, 2016.

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

The court previously heard that Ms McDonnell and her daughter stayed in Ms Keogh’s flat the night after the murder, because her home had been declared a crime scene by gardaí.

Ms McDonnell agreed that she had told gardaí­that she had been badly treated by Ms Keogh that day. She said Ms Keogh had not spent a lot of time with her as she was “coming and going” and offered her nothing to eat. Ms McDonnell got “a vibe” that Ms Keogh did not want her there, the court heard.

“I know she is entitled to her social life but in the situation I was in, I would have liked a helping hand. In other shoes I would have been there for her,” said Ms McDonnell.

‘Get out’

The witness agreed with Mr Gageby that she heard Ms Keogh say to her children on the evening of May 24th that she had “had enough of this” and was going to “get out of here” by either moving down the country or going to the UK.

Mr Gageby suggested to Ms McDonnell that his client had not asked her to assist in the murder of Mr Hutch.

“She brought nothing to your flat and asked you no favours,” he said.

“She did,” replied Ms McDonnell.

Mr Gageby said to Ms McDonnell that she had wound Mr Keogh into the narrative and fabricated her evidence.

“I’m not lying,” said Ms McDonnell.

Under cross-examination by Seán Guerin SC, for Mr Keogh, Ms McDonnell said she was not in a position to call gardaí before two men came into her house on the morning of the shooting. Ms McDonnell agreed that this was because she did not think it was “a serious thing” until the two men came in.

The court heard gardaí­ told Ms McDonnell she had played “a very big role” in Mr Hutch’s murder and had his blood on her hands. Ms McDonnell told Mr Guerin that she had never accepted this.

Ms McDonnell said she cared about what happened to Mr Hutch in the carpark of the flats complex because he was “a nice man”.

Mr Guerin said that unlike Ms McDonnell, who was initially charged with withholding information and sent to the Dóchas Centre women’s prison, Mr AB (one of the alleged shooters) was released without charge after telling gardaí that he was paid €3,000 a week to work for the Kinahan gang.

“Do you feel you were treated fairly by gardaí­ given there was a man released twice and you were charged with withholding information?” asked Mr Guerin.

“I should have been let go, I shouldn’t have been put into the Dóchas Centre,” she said.

The trial continues on Monday .