Gareth Hutch murder accused found unresponsive in cell during detention by gardaí

By Alison O'Riordan

A man on trial for the murder of Gareth Hutch was found unresponsive in his cell during his detention by gardai, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

The court heard that Thomas Fox (31) had presented himself at Mountjoy Garda Station four days previously in an effort "to clear his name".

Also today, the court heard that accused Regina Keogh (41) agreed with gardaí that the Hutch family “would have been feared by them all”.

Ms Keogh denied she was involved in Mr Hutch's murder, telling gardai that she “had no part in it" and was "not losing" her kids for anybody.

Gareth Hutch

Under cross-examination by Seamus Clarke SC, defending Mr Fox, Detective Garda Declan O’Brien of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations agreed that gardaí arrested Mr Fox on suspicion of murder with a firearm at Mountjoy Garda Station at 7.01pm on May 24, 2016.

The court heard member in charge Sergeant John Reynolds went to Mr Fox’s cell in Mountjoy Garda Station on the afternoon of May 28 and found him unresponsive and lying face down. It was discovered Mr Fox had a ligature around his neck, an ambulance was called and he arrived at the Mater Hospital at 3.15pm that day.

Mr Fox was discharged from hospital later that day and the court heard he would continue to have neck pain over the coming days but this did not prevent him from being questioned further.

Det Gda O’Brien agreed with Mr Clarke that Mr Fox’s next interview commenced at 7.03pm that evening in which he made references to the pressure he was under. Gardai had a “certain level of sympathy” for Mr Fox, the court heard. Mr Fox’s partner was allowed visit him a number of times over the next few days.

The court previously heard that Mr Fox told gardaí that his co-accused Jonathan Keogh told him he would “get it” if he did not do as Mr Keogh said and that a gun was "pushed into" his hand. Mr Fox said he was “smack-bang" in the middle of Mr Hutch’s murder as “someone” had put him there.

Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, read the statement of Sgt John Reynolds, who said he was working as the member in charge of Mountjoy Garda Station on May 28. He said he found Mr Fox unresponsive in his cell and lying face down. Sgt Reynolds said the zip of Mr Fox’s jacket was pulled right up, he lowered it and found a ligature. He removed the ligature and established Mr Fox was still breathing. Sgt Reynolds continued to monitor Mr Fox’s breathing until the ambulance arrived.

Sgt Reynolds said Mr Fox returned to Mountjoy Garda Station that day at 4.39pm with a discharge letter from medical staff. He was returned to a cell and received a cigarette and toilet paper. A garda observed him at all times following his return to the cell area.

Transcripts of Ms Keogh’s garda interviews were then read to the three-judge court today in the fifth week of the trial.

Ms Keogh is one of three Dubliners, along with her brother, accused of murdering Mr Hutch (36), nephew of Gerry “the Monk” Hutch. It is the State’s case that she was instrumental in planning the murder of Mr Hutch.

The prosecution contend that witness Mary McDonnell was encouraged by her “best friend” Ms Keogh to allow Jonathan Keogh use her flat “as a base” to wait for Mr Hutch prior to the attack.

It is the State’s case that Ms Keogh went up to Mrs McDonnell’s flat on the night prior to the shooting and gave her rubber gloves to be used by the attackers the following day.

Mrs McDonnell is a key prosecution witness in the trial who was originally charged with withholding information but that charge was dropped and she has been given immunity from prosecution.

Mr 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 24, 2016. He died as a result of four gun shot injuries.

Ms Keogh with an address at Avondale House, Cumberland Street North, Dublin 1, Mr Fox with an address at Rutland Court, 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 9 mm handgun on May 23, 2016 at the same place.

The court heard evidence today from interviews conducted by gardaí with Ms Keogh at Store Street Garda Station. Garda Michael Coyne told prosecuting counsel Fiona Murphy BL that gardaí arrested Ms Keogh on suspicion of murder at Avondale House on May 26, 2016.

Ms Keogh told gardai she is the eldest of seven children and she knew Gareth Hutch well, saying their relationship was good.

She told gardai her “nerves were shot” and she asked her friend Mary McDonnell for a relaxer when a “big heated discussion” took place between Jonathan Keogh and Gareth Hutch on the day prior to the shooting. The argument arose after Mr Keogh became suspicious about a man in the flat complex as his life was under threat. However, that man was there to buy a car from Ross Hutch. She said she needed a relaxer “because of who the family” was and she agreed with gardai that the Hutch family would have been feared by them all.

The court heard the argument ended with the men shaking hands and Ms Keogh said her brother seemed relieved. “At the end of the day we all have to live in the flats together,” she said. Gareth Hutch later told Ms Keogh that the argument was “nonsense”, the court heard.

When asked by detectives if there was a connection between the fight and the shooting, she said no. She agreed it was a coincidence that a fight had occurred and the next day Mr Hutch was killed.

While in custody Ms Keogh viewed CCTV and was asked if she recognised two males coming from the direction of Mrs McDonnell’s flat on the morning of the shooting. Ms Keogh said she had no idea who they were.

She denied her brother had said in Mrs McDonnell’s apartment that he was going to shoot Mr Hutch. “That’s not correct,” she said.

She later told gardai that she did not know who murdered Mr Hutch saying: “I had no part in it, I’m not losing my kids for anybody.”

When detectives put it to her that one of the men who shot Mr Hutch was her brother, Ms Keogh said, “I don’t believe it, I don’t.”

When told by gardai that the murder of Mr Hutch happened with her full knowledge and she allowed it to happen, she said, “I’m not guilty of any of this”.

She further denied giving money to her brother’s former partner, Denise King and asking her to bring it to him in Belfast. “I handed her nothing,” she said.

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


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