CCTV of two men in wig and flat cap shown at Regency murder trial

Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Byrne.
CCTV of two men in wig and flat cap shown at Regency murder trial

By Press Association and Alison O'Riordan

CCTV footage of two men, one in a flat cap and another in a wig, running through the hotel on the day of the Regency shooting has been shown in court as part of the latest evidence before the Special Criminal Court.

Gerry “The Monk” Hutch pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Byrne when he was arraigned before the Special Criminal Court on Tuesday as the murder trial began.

Mr Byrne (34) was killed during a crowded boxing bout weigh-in in one of the early attacks of the Hutch-Kinahan gangland feud on February 5 2016.

Mr Byrne was shot six times in what has been previously described as an “execution-style killing” at the north Dublin venue.

During the incident, people dressed in tactical gear entered through the front of the hotel and two people, one in a flat cap and another in a wig, entered through the laundry entrance.

On Wednesday, Garda Michelle Purcell from the divisional technical support unit at Santry Garda Station showed the court CCTV footage from the day of the Regency shooting.

A silver van is seen arriving through the electric gates at the back of the hotel, before the two men enter through the laundry room entrance to the building.

Ms Purcell said the footage showed the man in the flat cap and wig linking arms as they walked through the hotel, with the person in the wig “constantly” on the phone.

Ms Purcell said the two are seen walking up the corridor towards the reception area and the Regency suite.

People are then seen fleeing the scene.

Later footage shows the person in the wig and the man in the flat cap running back into the hotel’s laundry room entrance and through a corridor of the hotel.

A person in tactical gear is seen approaching from the opposite end of the corridor, shortly before leaving the scene.

The CCTV footage shows that they were in the hotel for around six minutes.

James McGettigan, whose family owned the Regency hotel and who was the director of the hotel at the time of the shooting, also gave evidence and described the confusion of the scene.

He said he was standing at the bar counter, when people in masks and tactical gear came into the hotel “very quickly and rush towards the bar and elsewhere, so it was a bit of a surprise”.

He said that his initial impression was that they were gardaí.

He told the court that they shouted out that they were looking for boxers and asked where they were, and that there was a “bit of pandemonium around the place”.

Mr McGettigan said that he was standing right next to one of the gunmen while everyone else in the bar was lying on the ground.

He could see “a lot of running around”, and hear shots as well as people screaming and shouting.

Mr McGettigan said the man beside him disappeared after what he thought was around 40 seconds “and it was me on my own with everyone in the bar”.

Gunmen walked by

Photographer Colin O’Riordan, who was covering the boxing weigh-in for work, told the court that he was in fear of his life and had tried to make himself as "unthreatening" as possible as gunmen dressed as members of the Emergency Response Unit walked by him.

Mr O'Riordan told prosecution counsel Sean Gillane SC that he was working for Independent Newspapers in 2016 and was asked by the photo desk to cover the boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on February 5th. Mr O'Riordan said he was advised by his office to only bring his iPhone to the event and not his photo equipment.

The witness said he met reporter Robin Schiller on the front steps of the hotel and they went to the Regency Suite where the weigh-in was taking place. "We sat down and surveyed who was in the room and what was going on," he said.

Mr O'Riordan started photographing the weigh-in using his iPhone and they stayed there for 15 minutes. "Robin said he spotted Daniel Kinahan, he was at the far side of the room. I couldn't see him, I wouldn't have 100 per cent known what he looked like at that time," he said.

They both decided to leave the weigh-in as there was nothing more to get and went outside to the front steps of the hotel, where two vans were parked. "We were talking about what happened inside and the next thing we heard a bang. Robin said that it was a gunshot," said Mr O'Riordan.

The witness said almost immediately two individuals dressed as gardai in "Emergency Response Unit paramilitary style wear" appeared on the steps of the hotel. "They were carrying AK-47s and wearing balaclavas, all the paraphernalia of emergency gardai," he added.

Mr O'Riordan said that his one thought as the individuals entered the building was that "no gardaí use AK-47s" and "that it was completely bogus". He said there were "garda signs" on the back of their jackets.

The witness heard a gunshot behind him and to his right beyond the silver van. He said he was standing at the far side of the first van and could see the front section of a barrel belonging to another weapon.

Gunshots

Mr O'Riordan said he could hear gunshots coming from inside the hotel foyer. "I remained where I was because the third individual behind the van didn't know I was there and I thought it was wiser to stay where I was than spook him for fear he might shoot me," he said.

He could see one of the people dressed as a member of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) standing on a desk inside the foyer and that he had his gun pointed down on "the chap" behind the desk. The man on the desk then turned and jumped back into the foyer area, he said.

Moments later, Mr O'Riordan said two of the members dressed as the ERU exited the front door right in front of him. "I stood back because I was in fear of my life. I tried to make myself as unthreatening as I could. I said to the guard 'I don't know where I should be'. They briskly walked by me with the weapons. They walked briskly to the silver van," said the witness.

Mr O'Riordan said he couldn't say exactly how many shots he had heard that day but "in or around 12".

The witness said that a man dressed as a woman and wearing a wig approached from the opposite direction. "It was too tall to be a woman, it was definitely a fella dressed as a woman with some sort of pistol in his hand," he said.

Mr O'Riordan said that as the man in the wig approached the van he heard him say: "He wasn't there, I couldn't find him". He also heard someone else say: "Get the fuck out of here". Both individuals had Dublin accents, he said. These two individuals also got into the van, which headed in the direction of the back of the hotel.

The witness said he thought it was a good idea to leave the hotel as he thought those in the van would come back and use the weapons again.

He said there was a lot of shouting and screaming as people started to emerge from the hotel. "People were cowering down behind the wall of the hotel, fearing they were going to be shot," he said.

Mr O'Riordan collected his camera equipment from his car and returned to the scene to photograph it as he ordinarily would "for any crime scene". He was advised by gardai to leave the area and one or two individuals shouted at him: "Get the fucking camera out of here".

The murder trial is continuing on Wednesday afternoon.

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