The Monk’s prayers … another twist or even a turn

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Prisoner makes jailhouse confession claiming he is Regency Hotel shooter – not Gerry Hutch

It is understood the confession was made directly to a senior prison official

Jonathan Dowdall
Jonathan Dowdall
The trial of Gerry Hutch accused of murdering David Byrne at the Regency Hotel resumed
The trial of Gerry Hutch accused of murdering David Byrne at the Regency Hotel resumed
David Byrne
David Byrne
Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch
Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch
Jonathan Dowdall
Jonathan Dowdall
The trial of Gerry Hutch accused of murdering David Byrne at the Regency Hotel resumed
The trial of Gerry Hutch accused of murdering David Byrne at the Regency Hotel resumed

Nicola Tallant Sunday World

11th January 2023

A prisoner has come forward and made a jailhouse confession claiming that he was the Regency Hotel shooter – NOT Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, the Sunday World can reveal.

The inmate, who is from Dublin and is serving a sentence for a serious crime, is believed to have the admission directly to a senior prison official.

Today, the Regency Hotel murder trial returned after a break for Christmas where the jailhouse confession was referred to – without the details being heard in open court.

The Special Criminal Court was told that the prosecution was making a document available to Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch’s defence team.

Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, informed the court that “a curious development” had arisen which resulted in the “generation of a document” that had been disclosed to the defence.

He said the document primarily concerned Mr Hutch. “That isn’t the cause of the delay but the matter has to be looked into,” he added.

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The Sunday World understand that the document referred to in court is, in fact, a confession from a convicted criminal which was made to a prison governor.

It is believed the Dublin criminal claimed he was the gunman involved in the Regency Hotel murder.

The peculiar development is not expected to derail the Regency trial which the court heard will wrap up within two weeks although it will have to be investigated.

This man has never previously been considered as a suspect in the murder despite a lengthy and extensive investigation.

In court today, the prosecuting counsel went on to say that the other issue which had caused the delay was that a garda witness was not available this morning.

The barrister said a “narrow” legal issue had arisen with CCTV footage in the case and he was confident that this evidence would be completed by lunchtime tomorrow. “We won’t lose time,” said Mr Gillane.

David Byrne
David Byrne

Addressing Mr Gillane, presiding judge Ms Justice Tara Burns said she now heard that the trial would conclude in two weeks. Mr Gillane said he hoped so but he did not know where “the development” would lead.

Mr Hutch’s defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC told the court that he was in “broad agreement” with this estimate “subject to matters falling out of the sky”.

Mr Grehan said the defence had not dealt with exhibits when the court finished up for Christmas on December 21 and he would be asking the court to make several items formal exhibits.

“I will have some limited cross-examination to elicit various matters which Jonathan Dowdall said about two specific issues. We will be endeavouring to deal with those in the most compact manner possible,” he said.

Ex-Sinn Fein councillor Dowdall, a former co-accused of Mr Hutch who has turned State’s witness and who has pleaded guilty to facilitating Mr Byrne’s murder, was on the stand for eight days in December and cross-examined for seven of those by Mr Hutch’s defence counsel Mr Grehan before the Christmas break.

Mr Grehan said today that he was hoping the defence may be able to deal with some of these matters by way of “a section 22” rather than having to call a range of gardai to prove the interviews and memorandums taken from Dowdall, when he was arrested for the murder of Mr Byrne in May 2016.

The State proceeded to call three very brief garda witnesses today, two of whom gave evidence in relation to the harvesting of CCTV footage from two Dublin city locations.

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch
Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch

Following this, Mr Gillane informed the court that no more witnesses were available today.

The trial will continue tomorrow before Ms Justice Burns sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

Gerard Hutch (59), last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, denies the murder of Mr Byrne (33) during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016.

Mr Hutch’s two co-accused – Paul Murphy (61), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 have pleaded not guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of David Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on February 5, 2016.

In his direct evidence on December 12 last year, ex-politician Dowdall testified that Gerard Hutch told him in a park several days after the Regency attack, in or around February 8 2016, that he and another man had shot Mr Byrne at the hotel.

The former councillor testified that the accused said he “wasn’t happy about shooting the young lad David Byrne and David Byrne being killed”. Asked by prosecution counsel Mr Gillane if Mr Hutch had said who had shot Mr Byrne at the Regency Hotel in 2016, Dowdall replied: “He said it was him and ‘Mago’ Gately”.

On the final day of Dowdall’s cross-examination on December 21, Mr Grehan said he was challenging the witness’s suggestion that Gerard Hutch had “come out of the shadows” to take the key cards on February 4.

Jonathan Dowdall
Jonathan Dowdall

“One hundred per cent it was Gerard Hutch, if it was anyone else I would say. I have no reason to say it was Gerard Hutch. Why would I say I met Gerard Hutch and it wasn’t him,” said Dowdall.

Defence lawyers have argued that the second of the “big lies” told by Dowdall to the court in his direct evidence was that Gerard Hutch had “confessed” to him in a park in Whitehall in or around February 8, 2016 about his direct involvement in the murder of Mr Byrne.

Dowdall agreed with Mr Grehan in cross-examination that he had claimed he met Gerard Hutch on the day Eddie ‘Neddy’ Hutch was killed on Monday February 8, 2016.

However, Dowdall said he wasn’t one hundred per cent sure if it was Sunday February 7 or Monday February 8.

On December 21 last, the Special Criminal Court heard that an analysis of Dowdall’s phone showed he was travelling towards Dundalk on one of his proposed dates for a meeting with Mr Hutch – when the witness claims Mr Hutch “confessed” his direct involvement in the murder of Mr Byrne – while on the other proposed date his phone pinged off a mast potentially covering the area but “at least three hours” after he claimed he’d met the accused.

Mr Byrne, from Crumlin, was shot dead at the hotel in Whitehall, Dublin 9 after five men, three disguised as armed gardaí in tactical clothing and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, stormed the building during the attack, which was hosting a boxing weigh-in at the time.

The victim was shot by two of the tactical assailants and further rounds were delivered to his head and body.

Mr Byrne died after suffering catastrophic injuries from six gunshots fired from a high-velocity weapon to the head, face, stomach, hand and legs.

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