NewsCrime Desk

Hitman shot David Byrne in the head as he lay on the floor bleeding

David Byrne
David Byrne

Regency hotel victim David Byrne was shot in the head with a handgun in a so-called "coup de grace" as he lay injured on the floor, it has emerged.

Two men - dressed in fake garda uniforms and armed with AK-47s - entered the lobby of the Regency Hotel in the north Dublin suburb of Drumcondra.

BREAKING: Continuity IRA claim responsibility for Regency Hotel attack

One of the four gunmen in the six-man hit squad targeted Byrne (34) and shot him in the legs.

As he lay injured on the lobby floor close to the reception counter, his killer shot him in the head.

Details of Byrne's cold-blooded murder emerged as his body was released to his loved ones last night.

Byrne's funeral will take place in Dublin's south inner city on Monday morning and gardai are going to put a major security operation in place for it.

The funeral Mass at St Francis Street Church will be followed by burial at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold's Cross.

David Byrne

The funeral of Eddie Hutch Snr (59) - the brother of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch and uncle of Gary Hutch - is also expected to take place next week. Eddie Hutch Snr was shot dead at his home in Poplar Row on Monday night.

It's understood Eddie was murdered on the order of the Kinahan cartel in revenge for Friday's murder of Byrne in the Regency.

Eddie Hutch

Gardai now believe that at least two of the six-man death squad sent to the Regency Hotel fled to the North immediately after the murder.

It is understood gardai are investigating a report that two masked men were observed in a car driving erratically on the M1 motorway north of the Swords exit at around 3pm, just minutes after the gruesome attack.

"They were literally driving cars off the motorway, it was madness," a source said last night.

Two of the chief suspects for the hotel attack are very close associates of Gary Hutch, who was murdered in Marbella last September.

Another man said to be involved in the attack is linked to a criminal who was previously shot by gardai in an armed robbery.

Separately, it has also emerged that senior gardai are planning to see if there is any way a truce could be brokered between the Kinahan cartel and associates of Gary Hutch.

Key to this would be the co-operation of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch. It is believed the notorious criminal arrived back in Ireland at the weekend following the deadly attack at the Regency Hotel.

His whereabouts are not known and he is keeping an extremely low profile.

He is said to be shocked by the murder of his older brother Eddie, who had no involvement in Friday's attack and is considered to be a "soft target" for his killers.

It is understood that associates of Gary Hutch held a meeting in the Beaumont area of North Dublin yesterday.

The decision by gardai to seek a truce between both sides comes two days after Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin appealed to the "mothers and grandmothers" within "the ranks" of both sides to help effect peace and stop further bloodshed.

It is understood that members of the gang involved in Monday night's murder of taxi driver Eddie Hutch are also suspects for the shooting dead of a young mother-of-two in Swords in Dublin nine years ago.

In a crime that shocked the nation, Baiba Saulite (28) was gunned down in November 2006 as she smoked a cigarette at her front door while her two young sons slept inside.

The two killers were close confidantes of Martin 'Marlo' Hyland, the Dublin crime boss who was himself shot dead a month later.

Hyland recruited the men to carry out the murder on behalf of Limerick gangster John Dundon, from the McCarthy/Dundon gang, who is serving life for the murder of innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan.

Gardai suspect the same pair were among the four-member hit team that killed Eddie Hutch.

A third suspect is also a well-known killer who was hired by the Kinahan cartel for a number of gangland murders in Dublin.

He is believed to be the would-be assassin hired by the Kinahans who shot and seriously injured John Gilligan in a murder bid in February 2014.

Via Herald