By Alison O'Riordan
A mother-of-five accused of murdering Gareth Hutch said she was told by her brother Jonathan Keogh that he thought Ross Hutch was going to kill him, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
Regina Keogh (41) said in her garda interviews that Mr Keogh (32) rang her on the day after the shooting and told her he was “adamant they were coming for him”. She said Mr Keogh said there was a story going around that Ross Hutch was supposed to kill him.
Asked by detectives if she believed Ross Hutch was there that day to kill her brother, Ms Keogh told gardai: “I do now”.
The trial has heard that Ross Hutch arrived on the scene moments after his cousin’s murder, saw Gareth lying on the ground and began “screaming hysterically”.
The three-judge 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 had arrested Ms Keogh on suspicion of murder at Avondale House on May 26, 2016.
Ms Keogh said there was “speculation” around the flats that Jonathan Keogh had shot Gareth Hutch. Ms Keogh said it was not nice when she returned to the flats in the hours after Mr Hutch was fatally injured saying: “People were ignoring me, they wouldn’t say hello back.”
Ms Keogh said she had been living in fear for herself and her children for the previous three months because of threats on her brother’s life.
She told gardai she felt nervous for everyone all the time and was terrified about the threats. “I’m on meds constantly, I’m losing weight, I have to watch behind me all the time."
She later told gardai that Jonathan Keogh refused to wear a bulletproof vest and he did not care if “they were coming”.
Ms Keogh continually denied in her interviews that anything was said to her or around her concerning a plan to kill Gareth Hutch. “No one said anything to me if they did I would have stopped it,” she said.
Gardai asked Ms Keogh if she felt safer with Gareth Hutch dead and she replied no. When asked if she thought her brother felt safer she also responded no.
Ms Keogh told gardai that Jonathan Keogh rang her phone on the day after the shooting and she asked him was he ok and where he was.
Mr Keogh told his sister that he had not shot Gareth Hutch and he thought Ross Hutch was going to kill him. He did not say where he got this information from, she said.
Ms Keogh said her brother sounded shaky, nervous and hyper on this phone call. He told her he would come back when things had calmed down, she said.
Asked by detectives if she believed Ross Hutch was there to kill her brother on the morning, she said she did now. “If Ross Hutch was going to kill Jonathan he could have killed one of us”, she said.
Ms Keogh told gardai she would have been surprised if Jonathan had done “something so close to where” they lived, adding that he would not have hurt them like that. She said she firmly believed her brother had not shot Gareth Hutch.
The court heard that gardai showed Ms Keogh CCTV footage of the shooting, and she identified herself as the woman talking to Ross Hutch shortly afterwards.
She told gardai that Ross was shouting "he's dead, he's dead". Ms Keogh said she went over and checked the body on the ground as she initially thought it was her brother Jonathan, as both men have black hair.
Ms Keogh said she never pressurised witness Mary McDonnell to allow anyone sit in her flat. “She is making out I bullied her, I did not bully her,” she said.
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.
Mrs McDonnell ‘s statement was shown to Ms Keogh during her detention, the court heard. Ms Keogh called her friend of 16 years “a liar” and said she did not know why she was lying now.
“I don’t see anything in her evidence that incriminates her but everyone else,” said Ms Keogh.
Ms Keogh also told gardai Mrs McDonnell was making up lies about her and they would not be friends after this.
The prosecution contends that witness Mary McDonnell was encouraged by her “best friend” Regina 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.
The court heard that Ms Keogh was later released without charge and was subsequently arrested on June 10, 2017 and charged with Mr Hutch’s murder. Her reply after being charged was: “I didn’t do it, I didn’t murder anyone.”
Mr Hutch (36), nephew of Gerry "the monk" 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 gunshot injuries.
Ms Keogh with an address at Avondale House, Cumberland Street North, Dublin 1, Thomas Fox (31) with an address at Rutland Court, Dublin 1, and Jonathan Keogh 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.
At the opening of the trial, the prosecution told the court that the killing of Mr Hutch was not a spontaneous or spur of the moment act but a “brutal and callous murder”.
“It was premeditated and a significant amount of planning had gone into it,” counsel said.
The prosecution say the three co-accused each had their own part to play in bringing about the death of Mr Hutch.
The prosecution contend that Mr Keogh threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting, that Mr Fox and Ms Keogh were instrumental in planning the murder, and Mr Keogh and another man, Mr AB, were the shooters.
The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh.