A six-man squad carried out “a resourced, carefully planned, targeted, murderous attack” at the Regency Hotel almost two years ago, a court has been told.
The Special Criminal Court heard a “perfected callousness” was involved in the murder of David Byrne at the north Dublin hotel on February 5, 2016.
The 34-year-old Crumlin man was shot six times, including to the head, face, abdomen, and thighs in the reception area of the hotel.
The hotel was hosting a boxing weigh-in attended by a large number of people, including women and children.
At day one of his trial, Patrick Hutch, aged 25, from Champions Avenue, Dublin 1, was charged with the murder of Mr Byrne and the possession of three firearms — all assault rifles — in suspicious circumstances.
Mr Hutch pleaded not guilty to both charges.
The non-jury court was told six people were involved in the attack: a man wearing a woman’s wig, who the prosecution contend is the defendant, a man wearing a flat cap (named as Kevin Murray, since deceased) and three men dressed in Garda tactical-style uniforms and a driver. Outlining the prosecution case, Seán Gillane said: “All six acted together in a resourced, carefully planned, targeted, murderous attack”.
He said this involved “perfected callousness” to a prone man who was already shot.
Mr Gillane said that, at 2.27pm two people, one in a flat cap and another wearing a wig, exited a silver van parked near the hotel and entered the building. He said that, as a boxer was weighed in, eyewitnesses described hearing gunfire and “an immediate panic ensued”.
He said both the man with the cap and the man with the wig were observed to be each carrying what appeared to be a handgun.
At around 2.30pm, the silver van pulled up outside the main entrance. CCTV captured three individuals exiting, dressed as gardaí in tactical-style clothing and armed with what appeared to be assault rifles. When they entered the hotel, a number of shots were fired and there was “panic”.
Describing the three-member “tactical team” as TAC 1, 2, and 3, Mr Gillane said TAC 1 shot Mr Byrne as he came running towards reception and that TAC 2 shot him again, causing Mr Byrne to fall near the reception desk. A BBC reporter had jumped the desk to the staff side and TAC 2 jumped over and pointed his weapon at him and, after engaging with him for a couple of seconds, did not discharge.
Mr Gillane said TAC 2 moved back over to where Mr Byrne was lying and “calmly and coldly” discharged further rounds to his head and body. He said the raiders seemed to have been looking for a “specific person” and the man with the wig was heard saying: “He’s not fucking here” and “I couldn’t fucking find him”.
Mr Gillane said the team got into the van, set it on fire at a nearby estate, and drove off in other vehicles. He said two gardaí identified Patrick Hutch from images as the man in the wig. He said three assault rifles were seized in March 2016 and discharged cartridges at the Regency matched the weapons.
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