Gary Hutch pleaded with killer before being shot dead, court told

Witness at murder trial of James Quinn says he thought killer and victim ‘were playing at first’

A witness to the murder of Gary Hutch in a residential estate in the south of Spain said he thought the killer and his victim were playing a game when he first saw them running past.

The witness, at the trial for murder in Malaga of alleged gangland assassin James Quinn, told jurors: "I heard a loud noise and raced to the terrace and saw two men running round the swimming pool.

“I thought they were playing at first but then I saw one had a pistol in his hand and I realised it was something else.

“They reached a point where the victim had no way out and had to stop. He put his hands up and went ‘no, no, no’ and then I heard two shots and saw him fall to the ground.


“The killer had a black balaclava and black gloves on.”

Like a number of other witnesses, the man - identified to the court only by his first name José - gave evidence from behind a partially-open door screening him from the public gallery and the murder accused.

The shooting took place on September 24th 2015 in a gated residential estate in Miraflores near Fuengirola where Hutch lived.

A chief investigator said Mr Quinn was named as the potential killer in an internal Garda report they were sent as part of a shared intelligence operation. He revealed Spanish police also linked the Dubliner to the Kinahan family after concluding he had been picked up from his torched getaway car by a Peugeot 206 registered to his late mother and driven by two Romanian brothers Mr Quinn lived with.

A second vehicle allegedly used as a look-out car was linked by detectives to a woman described as the then-Romanian partner of Daniel Kinahan, son of cartel leader Christy Kinahan, the police officer told the court.

He also told how Mr Quinn, one of five people arrested over the Gary Hutch murder but the only one to be charged and put on trial, had a photo of Daniel Kinahan's late mother Jean Boylan in his wallet when he was arrested.

Referring to a taped phone conversation Mr Quinn had with a relative hours after Drimnagh man Trevor O’Neill was shot while on holiday in Majorca in August 2016 when he was mistaken for a member of the Hutch family, the police officer said: “Before it was publicly known the killer in that crime had got the wrong person, he was talking to the relative in code and referring to a tattoo with the word ‘failed.’

“That showed clearly he was a member of a drugs trafficking organisation.

“We attributed the Gary Hutch murder to the Kinahan clan early on and concluded James Quinn was the material author of the crime with assistance from others after that.”

The gangland feud said to have been sparked by Gary Hutch’s murder has cost the lives of at least 15 people in Ireland and Spain.

State prosecutors want Mr Quinn jailed for life if he is found guilty of Hutch’s murder. He is also on trial for illegal weapons possession and faces a three-year prison sentence if convicted.

The father-of-one has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

On the second day of the trial, the jurors were also shown the charred remains of garments prosecutors say Mr Quinn was wearing when he shot Mr Hutch. These included a cap from which DNA was taken and later matched to Mr Quinn.

Defence lawyer Pedro Apalategui questioned why the cap had only been mentioned in police reports after the DNA match and why it looked so different from the other badly-burnt clothes found in the getaway car.

He suggested it was a “comfortable” explanation that enabled the authorities to pin the blame on his client once they had his DNA, and he dissented from the police view that one of the screenshots taken from CCTV cameras at the murder scene showed Mr Hutch’s killer wearing a baseball cap before he swapped it for a balaclava.

A civil guard officer involved in the early stages of the investigation, referred to only by his police number, told the court they had gone back over the footage and focused on the cap after realising its importance to detectives.

A Spanish national police investigator, who was also identified only by his service number, said as the clothes from the getaway BMW were laid out in front of him and jurors: “Local police helped to put the fire out with an extinguisher and although the upholstery inside was gutted, not everything was destroyed.

“There were some clothes on top of others and my understanding is they wouldn’t have received the same amount of heat.”

The trial, expected to finish on Thursday.