Monk in frame over secret tape and gun range break
An investigation into the Regency Hotel attack, which sparked the Kinahan/Hutch feud, is expected to recommend charges against Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch and a number of his closest associates.
The Herald understands that the team of detectives involved in the inquiry at Ballymun Garda Station are in the final stages of preparing a file for the DPP.
Sources revealed that ‘The Monk’ has been identified as one of the alleged ringleaders of the attack – and there may be enough circumstantial evidence to charge him with conspiracy to commit murder.
Gardai have also identified up to a dozen people who were involved in the attack, including the hit team and its getaway drivers, based on evidence which includes analysis of phone traffic and CCTV footage.
It is understood that part of the evidence against Hutch and four of his associates centres on a trip they took to a shooting range in Krakow, Poland, less than two weeks before the attack at the Drumcondra hotel.
It is understood the evidence against ‘The Monk’ also includes a secretly recorded conversation which took place a few weeks after the attack between Hutch and his close associate, former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall.
Dowdall came to garda attention when it was discovered that his wife’s credit card was used to book a room for ‘Flat Cap’ – alleged accomplice Kevin Murray, who died in 2017 – in the Regency Hotel on the night before the attack.
He is also suspected of being one of the getaway drivers who picked up the hit team after the incident. As a result gardai planted eavesdropping devices in Dowdall’s 4×4.
The secret operation paid off when ‘The Monk’ and Dowdall took a trip to Northern Ireland to meet ‘Flat Cap’ a few weeks after the incident.
It is understood that the two men talked about the Regency and they referred to the AK-47s which the gang had borrowed from dissident republicans.
The weapons were seized by gardai on March 9, 2016, as they were being returned to dissidents in the North.
Based on the information gleaned from the secret recordings, the Special Detective Unit (SDU) also searched Dowdall’s home on the Navan Road for arms and ammunition the day after the recovery of the murder weapons.
While they did not find evidence linked to the Regency, they found a memory stick containing mobile phone footage of Dowdall and his 61-year-old father torturing a man they accused of trying to scam them.
Dowdall threatened to cut his victim’s fingers off and talked about chopping him up and feeding him to dogs.
He also bragged that he was a member of the IRA and close friends of Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald.
The father and son are currently serving eight and four-year prison sentences after pleading guilty to false imprisonment and making threats to kill their terrified victim.
Gerry Hutch left the country before Dowdall’s arrest and has not been seen in public in the past four years. He is believed to be moving between bases in Turkey and Spain.
Drug dealer and Kinahan cartel member David Byrne was shot dead when a five-strong murder squad – including three men dressed as ERU members armed with AK-47 rifles – struck at a boxing weigh-in at the Regency on February 5, 2016.
Gardai believe that the audacious attack was masterminded by ‘The Monk’, who had planned to murder cartel boss Daniel Kinahan and several of his top lieutenants.
The dramatic assault was thought to be revenge for the murder of Hutch’s nephew Gary in September 2015.
It was followed by an attempt to assassinate ‘The Monk’ in Lanzarote three months later on New Year’s Eve.
Sources close to Hutch claimed that he had been “left with no choice” but strike back because he believed the Kinahans could not be trusted.
However, the planned massacre failed to materialise when Kinahan and his close associates, including Byrne’s brother Liam, managed to escape through a back door.
The attack unleashed an unprecedented cycle of bloodshed as the Kinahan cartel carried out 14 murders over the following two years – so far the feud has claimed 18 lives including two completely innocent men.
The death toll includes Gerry Hutch’s brother Eddie, three of his nephews and two of his best friends.
Last year the Regency investigation experienced a setback after the trial of the Monk’s nephew, Patrick Hutch, collapsed following the tragic death of the officer in charge of the enquiry, Detective Superintendent Colm Fox.
It was the State’s case that Hutch was the man dressed as a woman and although he did not shoot David Byrne, he was part of a “shared intention” to commit the offence. Patrick Hutch had denied the charges.
In February 2019, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and dropped the charges.