Hutch murder: Gardaí report ‘progress’ in tracing owner of getaway car

Garda liaising with Spanish police while appealing for witnesses to fleeing gunmen

The getaway car used in the murder of Eddie Hutch on Monday night was not stolen and "significant progress" has been made in tracing its owner, gardaí have said.

The silver BMW was later recovered near the scene with a petrol can inside, a clear indication of an intention to destroy it but gardaí believe the killers were forced to make a hasty escape.

It is one of three vehicles identified as being of interest to detectives.

The others are a black Peugeot and a dark coloured jeep, either an Isuzu or a Toyota Landcruiser.

Gardaí have not commented on the motive for the shooting dead of Hutch at his home in Poplar Row in north inner-city Dublin at 7.46pm, but it is believed to be a retaliatory hit following the shooting dead of David Byrne in the Regency Hotel on Friday.

Hutch, who was gunned down while his partner was in the house, was considered a “soft target”. He was the brother of Gerry Hutch, known as “The Monk”.

A number of shots were fired from handguns but gardaí could not say how many until they receive the results of a post-mortem examination.

“We are very interested in four masked men who were seen in the location, two of whom fired shots that resulted in the death of Mr Hutch,” said Assistant Garda Commissioner Jack Nolan at a briefing on Tuesday evening.

“We had no specific intelligence that Mr Hutch was at risk.”

Of particular interest is the silver BMW, registration 06 G 8965, which left the scene of the murder and travelled along the Drumcondra Road and into St Patrick’s Parade where it was abandoned.

Gardaí believe this was done in haste due to the large number of garda in the area and their rapid response, arriving on the scene within two minutes of the reported gunfire.

The black Peugeot was seen in the area but it is unclear if it was involved.

“We believe that when the BMW vehicle was abandoned that the raiders then left in the dark Isuzu jeep or Toyota Landcruiser vehicle,” said Mr Nolan, who said it then travelled in the direction of Glasnevin.

“A full forensic and technical and DNA examination has been conducted on the silver BMW and all of the contents.

“We would appeal to any retail outlets who sold petrol to anybody in a drinks type bottle to please get in touch.”

Earlier, Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan said the force was liaising with Spanish police as as part of its investigation into the gangland shootings.

She defended the force’s decision to have no gardaí present at the regency Hotel where David Byrne was shot dead, saying officers were deployed based on “intelligence and risk assessment”.

Speaking at a press conference at Garda Headquarters in Dublin, she said “there was no specific intelligence indicating any threat last Friday at the Regency Hotel...

“We have to be very careful how we deploy members of the Garda. If there is no threat we cannot have members of the force there. You cannot have members of the Garda going to every single event just because criminals may be there.”

Ms O'Sullivan met with Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on Tuesday morning when it was agreed an extra €5 million would be allocated to the Garda to deal with the current crisis.

“We outlined to her our requirements and the number of people we need in terms of having the capacity and the capability we need to respond to current and emerging threats,” she said.

“There’s no doubt over the last number of years we have seen significant reductions in both human resources and financial resources. In the last two years we’ve worked very hard to address that but we can’t do it overnight.

“I’m very satisfied that we can rebuild that capacity and capability. The reality is we cannot do it overnight. It is going to take time.”

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Fitzgerald said a permanent armed Garda unit would be established in Dublin to tackle gangland crime.

Disregard for life

Ms Fitzgerald said the murders have shown a blatant disregard for human life.

The new special armed support unit for Dublin, which will comprise 55 gardai, will operate in addition to the Garda’s Emergency Response Unit.

She said the unit has been in operation over the past few days but it will now become a permanent fixture.

“There are ongoing capacity issues that we have to continue to correct but you cannot have the lack of investment that we saw under the last government without consequence,” she said. “What I have done as Minister is put law and order up there at the centre in terms of the resources that have become available.”

The Minister confirmed she and the Commissioner discussed the armoury that the Garda requires and said she would keep the requests for more equipment under constant review.

She said saturation policing would now be put in place and garda will maintain a visible presence on our roads and streets. She said there will be multiple rolling checkpoints and patrols.

Mr Hutch, a taxi driver in his 50s, was killed when four men burst into his home Poplar Row in Dublin’s north inner city and shot him dead in the hallway of the house at about 7.45pm on Monday night. He was hit several times and died immediately.

He is the latest victim of a feud between a gang loyal to murdered criminal Gary Hutch and one led by international drugs trafficker Christy Kinahan.