New pics show shock moment Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch nabbed by Spanish cops at pizza restaurant
- Published: 22:40, 18 Apr 2023
NEW pictures show the dramatic moment Gerry Hutch was nabbed by Spanish cops at a pizza restaurant.
The Monk was holding a menu in both hands when undercover Spanish officers swooped from two sides.
Unsuspecting Hutch was sitting with his wife at a table inside the busy Limoncello Restaurant in Fuengirola on a Thursday evening in August 2021.
And the Dubliner had no idea he was being watched as he waited to order his grub around 8pm.
A dozen specialist undercover officers from La Guardia Civil blended into the crowd around the restaurant waiting for their target to arrive.
Here GARY MENEELY examines the story behind the Spanish cop hunt for The Monk.
READ MORE ON GERRY HUTCH
THE hunt for Hutch was launched after a European Arrest Warrant was issued by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin.
The manhunt had been on for five months when Spanish cops tracked The Monk down to the resort town of Fuengirola in August 2021.
Intelligence had led officers from the secretive Fugitive Action Task Force (FAST) of La Guardia Civil to locate Hutch in Fuengirola.
Now one of the undercover Spanish cops has opened up on the lead-up to nabbing the fugitive near the Plaza where he was living discreetly that summer.
The top officer, who goes by the code-name Mando, was one of the six-man FAST team which arrested Hutch.
Flashing his police badge, Mando was the cop recorded in photos and videos speaking to Hutch in English to inform the Dubliner he was under arrest.
For a special Prime Time documentary broadcast tonight on RTÉ One, Mando said:“It was step by step how we got where he was hidden.”
The Spanish officers received information that Hutch was somewhere in the Fuengirola area, leading the team to ramp-up their search.
While refusing to reveal the source of the intel, Mando confirmed surveillance led them to focus on a specific apartment block.
For two days, the undercover FAST team posed as locals.
BIDING THEIR TIME
It was a waiting game, with their routine involving coffees and strolls around town.
But while blending in as locals, the cops were on a mission.
They were watching for the man they began to refer to by his nickname, El Monje.
Then came their big breakthrough.
Hutch had been lying low in on Plaza de la Constitucion in the centre of the tourist town.
The Spanish team secretly took a photo of a suspect on a balcony at the apartment complex.
Spanish cops sent it off to the gardai and waited for a response.
Gardai soon confirmed it was Hutch and the swoop was on.
Mando said: “We saw a man at a balcony. The photo we had from before showed The Monk with long hair.
“This man (at the balcony) had short hair, but looked like him.
“We took a secret photo of the man from here in this Plaza. We shared it with the Garda, and they confirmed, it was Gerard Hutch, nicknamed The Monk.”
The undercover officers kept the building under watch from all sides.
On the second day of surveillance, they had Hutch in their sights as he went out for dinner.
The officers discreetly tailed Hutch and his wife as they walked about 400 metres to Limoncello restaurant.
A Garda was also present with the undercover members of La Guardia Civil as they prepared to make the arrest.
Spanish police pounced after Hutch sat down inside Limoncello with his wife to his right.
In the midst of the pandemic, their target was still wearing a Covid facemask.
Hutch was facing the front entrance, with two ways in from either side of the entrance.
The Spanish police used both.
Mando and others came from Hutch’s left-hand side and identified themselves.
Video shows Hutch did not flinch.
Seconds after the suspect was taken into custody, cops still had to confirm Hutch’s identity.
The infamous crime figure was taken to a toilet by undercover officers.
They were followed by a member of the UCO – the Unidad Central Operativa – (Central Operative Unit) of La Guardia Civil, identifiable in a La Guardia Civil jacket.
And alongside them was a member of An Garda Síochána, wearing a Garda baseball cap and Garda jacket.
One of the Garda’s roles was to confirm Hutch’s identity.
Stony-faced Hutch’s waist-pouch was searched, with a false Croatian passport and driver’s licence found stashed inside.
After spotting the Garda jacket being worn in the Spanish sun, composed Hutch turned to the garda and cracked a joke.
He jested: “The jacket, you must be roastin’ in that.”
Knowing that was being filmed by a member of the Spanish police, Hutch was also heard making reference to crime reporter Paul Williams who has reported on him for many years.
Hutch said: “Is this all for Paul Williams, is it?”
As Hutch was led away from the restaurant in handcuffs, he added that the cuffs were “too tight, but ok”.
And then The Monk was driven away in a unmarked cop car.
It had been almost five months since the international warrant had been issued for Hutch’s arrest on suspicion of the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in 2016.
The hunt for Gerard Hutch was led by the UCO – the Unidad Central Operativa – (Central Operative Unit) of La Guardia Civil, of which Mando and his colleagues in the undercover FAST team are a part.
Mando recalled how it the was late March 2021 when he first heard the name of the man he would later arrest.
He said: “We were approached by the liaison officer of the Gardaí in Spain, warning us that an international warrant order against a high value target for your country was about to be issued – Gerard Hutch nicknamed The Monk.
“So they wanted to manage this, with, top-secret level because it was supposed (believed) that he had very good connections all around Ireland and even in Spain.”
The month after his arrest in August 2021, Hutch was extradited to Dublin and brought to the Special Criminal Court to be charged with the murder of David Byrne.
Hutch remained in custody in Ireland for 20 months as he faced trial.
But The Monk walked from the Special Criminal Court this week after being found not guilty of the murder rap.
The verdict has sparked concerns for cops in Spain where Hutch could now flee.