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Gardai had graphic David Byrne Regency murder video removed from Youtube, court told

Voices on the footage could be heard saying of the attackers: “f**k me pink, there’s no way they’re guards"

Gerry Hutch and inset, disguised gunmen enter the Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016

Victim David Byrne

Andrew PhelanSunday World

Gardai had to take steps to have graphic footage of the aftermath of the Regency Hotel shooting removed from Youtube, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

The brief video, taken on a phone and uploaded after the attack, showed victim David Byrne lying dead on the floor moments after he was murdered.

The court was told voices on the footage could be heard saying of the attackers: “f**k me pink, there’s no way they’re guards."

A detective garda gave evidence about the clip today in the trial of Gerard “The Monk” Hutch for Mr Byrne's murder.

Mr Hutch (59), of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin, denies killing the father-of-three (32) at the Regency Hotel, Dublin on February 5, 2016.

Mr Byrne, a Kinahan gang member, was shot dead when five raiders, three disguised as ERU gardai with assault rifles, stormed the Dublin hotel.

The attack at a boxing weigh-in fuelled the Kinahan-Hutch gang feud.

The Regency Hotel (PA)

Two other men, Jason Bonney (52) of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock and Paul Murphy (61) of Cherry Avenue, Swords, are charged with facilitating the murder by providing cars for the attack team. Before the trial started, former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall (44) was jailed for helping to book a room at the Regency which was used by the attack team.

Today, Detective Garda Paul Darley said in 2016, after the Regency shooting, an operation of coordinated searches was put in place, one “target” being a person of interest at an address in the Coolock area.

Afterwards, on February 25, the Evening Herald published a front page article that appeared to relate to this specific search.

The headline was “Kinahan Must Die” and the story continued inside with a sub heading “Chilling Threat that Gang War Won’t End Until Kinahan Is Dead," both quotes attributed to the target of the search. The gardai purchased a copy of the paper which was common practice.

Det Gda Darley also became aware in February of a one minute and five second long clip on Youtube entitled “Shocking Dublin weigh-in shooting.”

The clip was of events on February 5 as they were developing outside the Regency and he sought to access and download it.

It contained a “running commentary” with three distinct voices, the court heard. Its contents were not played but were described to the court.

The clip began in the reception area very shortly after Mr Byrne was shot and showed him in “a prone state”, prosecutor Sean Gillane SC said.

“Yes, the body of David Byrne is captured on the ground at the reception desk,” Det Gda Darley replied.

Mr Gillane said the video also captured Mr Byrne’s injuries.

“It’s very obvious that he’s lying dead,” Det Gda Darley said.

The court heard the person making the recording then moved from the reception area and a conversation could be heard.

A male voice said “f**k me pink, there’s no way they’re guards.”

A voice said: “There they are, there they are in the van, they’re not cops, they’re not cops. Get in out of the f**king way, they’re not cops.”

One person said “Jasus look at that young fella” and another sayid “Don’t go near him.”

A voice said: “look, they’re trying to get out down there, they drove down there in their van.”

While on the steps, the person recording captured a silver transit van exiting the security gate into the Gracepark Manor estate.

"We sought the removal of the clip," Det Gda Darley said.

Victim David Byrne

The court heard it was on Youtube for a number of days before gardai took steps to have it removed.

In cross-examination by Mr Hutch’s barrister Brendan Grehan SC, Det Gda Darley confirmed that gardai also obtained a copy of the Sunday World article of February 7 which had a picture of two people with guns and their faces pixellated so they could not be identified.

Mr Grehan asked if that came about as a result of the gardai contacting the newspaper to ask that if the picture was published it would be pixellated.

Det Gda Darley said this request was made for operational reasons and it was respected by the newspaper.

Paul Brady gave evidence that he was the holder of multiple taxi plates, one of which he had rented to Paul Murphy.

He said a change in the laws had meant that cars using his plates must be in his name, as must the insurance. The driver was the registered user and it was up to the driver to maintain the car's upkeep.

The plate was for a Toyota Avensis and Mr Brady, who had it in 2016, was a day driver who preferred to work on Dublin’s northside.

In cross-examination, Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Murphy, asked Mr Brady he had any experience of taxis being “cloned.”

The court has already heard when Mr Murphy was questioned about his taxi’s movements on the day of the Regency attack, he suggested the car may have been cloned.

Mr Brady said there had been instances of his cars being cloned at least two or three times.

Explaining this, he said someone with a car of the same colour would change the registration and roof sign and fake the sticker.

Detective Garda Cathal Connolly gave evidence that during the Regency investigation, he went to Buckingham Village in the north inner city on February 7, 2016 to conduct enquiries. The court previously heard this was a location that became “operative” on the morning of the Regency attack.

A Latvian woman lived there and operated a buzzer for access to the gate.

One of the vehicles parked there was a silver Ford Transit van registered to Jonathan Dowdall’s electrical company - not the van used in the Regency attack.

Det Gda Connolly was also further cross-examined by Mr Grehan on his involvement in interviews with Jonathan Dowdall last year.

Dowdall had initially been charged with murder before pleading guilty to the lesser facilitation charge and turning state's witness against Mr Hutch. Dowdall alleged Mr Hutch met him in Ellenfield Park in Whitehall days after the Regency attack and "confessed" to shooting David Byrne. He also alleged Mr Hutch turned up to collect the keys to the booked hotel room at Richmond Road the night before the attack.

In the first interviews with Dowdall, Det Gda Connolly had taken handwritten notes and used these in writing detailed reports which he emailed shortly after. Dowdall had come into an intervew with a 42-page written document and later, on September 23 last year, made a formal statement.

Mr Grehan cross-examined the garda about what he had noted and reported Dowdall as having said at interviews.

This covered issues such as the alleged handing over of the hotel key room cards to Gerard Hutch and his alleged "confession" in the park.

Mr Grehan questioned the garda about what Dowdall said about the exact location of the keys handover, and the exact date of the alleged park meeting. The garda had noted the alleged park meeting was after the publication of the Sunday World article on February 7, 2016 and before the murder of Eddie Hutch on the evening of February 8.

The court also heard of attempts to “tie down” the date with Dowdall.

Mr Grehan said on July 13 last year, in the last record prior to Dowdall making his formal statement, Det Gda Connolly reported Dowdall had said February 8 was the date of the park “confession.”

Mr Gillane re-examined Det Gda Connolly. The court heard that Dowdall's own 42-page typed document had stated he could not recall what day he met Mr Hutch in the park, but it was after the Sunday World article.

Evidence on phone records is due to be given by crime analyst Sarah Skedd tomorrow, when the prosecution expects to close its case.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Tara Burns, Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

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