NewsCrime Desk

Huge relief for 'gunman in drag' after realising it was gardai, not rival gangsters, chasing him

Crime DeskBy Sunday World
The shooter disguised as a woman flees the Regency Hotel attack
The shooter disguised as a woman flees the Regency Hotel attack

Hutch gang members arrested at the weekend were relieved to discover it was gardai chasing them, as opposed to rival gangsters.

On Friday, detectives arrested a man suspected of being the cross-dressing hitman who was pictured fleeing the scene of the Regency Hotel shooting in February and another man.

The pair were stopped on the the Malahide Road in Dublin by members of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) in unmarked cars.

Shortly after their arrest, the men told officers that they were relieved it wasn't members of the Kinahan mob chasing them.

"They thought they were going to be shot. When they saw that it was cops rather than gangsters they were just relieved."

Both of the men had been warned that their lives were in danger and tensions have been at an all-time high following a series of shootings targeting the Hutch gang.

One of the men arrested is believed to be a close associate of slain Gary Hutch (34).

The other, who is aged in his late 20s, was arrested for road traffic offences. However, he was released without charge yesterday morning.

Gardai investigating the Regency Hotel attack are also expected to charge two members of the gang with murder.

Sources have revealed that investigators used facial recognition software to formally identify the suspect, a close associate of Gary Hutch, whose murder by the Kinahan cartel in Spain sparked the current spiral of feud violence.

The same technology has also confirmed the identity of the veteran republican hitman wearing a flat cap.

The "drag shooter" arrived at the Regency Hotel linked arm-in-arm with another man.

According to witnesses, he acted like a "feeble old woman", wearing a blonde wig, knee-high boots, a black coat and scarf.

The gang stormed the hotel which was hosting a boxing weigh-in ahead of a European title fight. Several members of the Kinahan cartel were present at the weigh-in.

Once inside, the gunman in drag fired the first shot.

It is believed that upon hearing the gunshot, victim David Byrne ran towards the exit doors but slipped in the reception area of the hotel upon catching sight of two gunmen who came through the front door, dressed as gardaí and armed with AK-47s.

It was there that he was shot dead.

While detectives believe the murder had been planned for several months, the gang underestimated the number of people who would be in the hotel.

The murder of Byrne sparked gangland warfare between the Hutch gang and Kinahan cartel.

Three days after Byrne's brutal murder, Eddie Hutch Snr, the brother of Gerry Hutch, was shot dead at his home on Poplar Row.

Last week, a senior member of the Kinahan cartel was arrested in connection with the murder of taxi driver Eddie Hutch Snr.

The North Dublin criminal is also a suspect in the murder of cigarette smuggler Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan (56).

Innocent drug addict Martin O’Rourke (24) and Michael 'Mickey' Barr were also killed by suspected members of the Kinahan faction.