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Off the streets Dangerous criminal Trevor Byrne was key figure for Kinahan cartel during early days of feud

Senior sources have hailed the lengthy sentence handed down to Byrne who ran a lucrative drug patch in north-west Dublin

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Trevor Byrne

Trevor Byrne

Trevor Byrne

One of the country's most dangerous criminals who has been investigated over the murder of the Monk's brother now faces almost two decades behind bars.

Garda intelligence has linked Trevor Byrne (40) to serious organised crime on behalf of the Kinahan cartel including the deadly gangland feud.

Jailed yesterday for a total of 17.5 years for firearm offences and an armed raid on a bookmakers, Byrne has been a priority target for anti-gangland units.

The Sunday World previously revealed how he was quizzed by detectives investigating the murder of Eddie Hutch outside his Ballybough home in February 2016.

Eddie, the brother of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, was shot dead in retaliation for the Regency Hotel gun attack which claimed the life of Kinahan mobster David Byrne.

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 Eddie Hutch

Eddie Hutch

Eddie Hutch

While never charged over that murder, gardaí continue to investigate him for a range of crimes and believe he was a key figure of the Kinahan cartel in the early days of the deadly feud.

Senior sources have hailed the lengthy sentence handed down to Byrne who ran a lucrative drug patch in north-west Dublin while working for the international crime gang.

On Thursday, the Special Criminal Court heard Byrne will serve consecutive jail sentences totalling 17.5 years for firearms offences and for the armed robbery of a bookmakers, after which he hijacked a woman’s car at gunpoint and threatened to kill her.

Byrne, who has 44 previous convictions, had left his phone at the scene of the robbery and was convicted earlier this year by the Special Criminal Court of five charges arising from the armed robbery of Boylesports in Applewood Village in Swords, Co Dublin, on March 19, 2010.

Byrne (41) of Cappagh Road, Finglas West in Dublin had pleaded not guilty to the robbery, possession of a firearm, false imprisonment, threatening to kill and to unlawfully seizing a vehicle used in the getaway.

The court had heard that Byrne was released from a separate sentence in November 2009, just four months before carrying out the Swords raid.

The father-of-three is already serving a nine-year sentence backdated to November 2019 for a firearms offence. He had been found by armed gardaí in a back garden cabin, where a loaded handgun had been stashed. He had pleaded guilty six days into his trial to possession of a loaded 9mm Luger-caliber Radom 35 firearm at a house in Woodford Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 on November 15, 2019.

Three other charges of possession of ammunition and €3,050 in cash that he was reckless towards, believed to be, or knew to be the proceeds of crime, were taken into consideration.

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Byrne previously served an eight-year term for robbery of a pub and off-licence, after which he tried to hijack an unmarked garda car, pointing a gun at gardai. He then managed to escape in a taxi, after holding a gun to a taxi-driver's head while being pursued by gardai.

The non-jury court convicted Byrne in the present case after being satisfied that a mobile phone dropped at the scene during the robbery was his. He was also recognised from CCTV.

At a previous hearing, prosecuting Garda Sergeant Mairéad Murray told Mr Shane Costelloe SC, prosecuting, that it was the fourth time a trial had been scheduled for Byrne to face these charges.

He had originally been tried in the Circuit Criminal Court with a co-accused. While his co-accused was acquitted, there was a disagreement among the jury on Byrne’s charges. His second trial before the Circuit Criminal Court collapsed, after a member of the jury asked to be recused.

A bench warrant had to be issued for Byrne’s arrest when his third trial was due to begin. At that stage, the DPP decided that the trial should be remitted to the Special Criminal Court.

Mr Justice MacGrath said that Byrne had put staff at the bookmakers and the victim of his hijacking in "great fear and terror" and placed them in fear of their lives.

The judge said that Byrne's actions were a cause of "great distress" for them and said they were "serious" offences.

Mr Justice MacGrath said that the robbery involved two men and was "intentional, premeditated and planned" for the day of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, when the bookies would be busy.

The judge said that Byrne's victims had been put through "significant psychological trauma", which was an aggravating factor as was his previous convictions.

Mr Justice MacGrath said that he would fix ten years' imprisonment as the headline sentence for the armed robbery and the false imprisonment before any mitigation - both having a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The judge noted Byrne's tragic family circumstances, that he had a young family and that he was no longer using drugs and gave a six-month discount on all five offences.

The judge said that Byrne’s barrister, John D Fitzgerald SC, had pointed out that his client’s earliest previous conviction was at a time when he was a minor.

Mr Fitzgerald had said that he had been raised by his mother with four siblings, three of whom had died in tragic circumstances.

“It’s a background marked by chaos and tragedy,” he said.

Mr Justice MacGrath then further discounted a year for proportionality and possible rehabilitation.

In passing sentence, Mr Justice MacGrath said that all five sentences arising from the raid on the bookies would run concurrently to each other but would run consecutively to the conviction for the other firearm offence in November 2019.

He then sentenced Byrne to eight-and-a-half years in jail for both the armed robbery and the false imprisonment, six-and-a-half years for the threat to kill and seven-and-half years each for the possession of the firearm and for hijacking the car.

Prosecution counsel Mr Shane Costelloe SC had told the non-jury court that both the manager of the bookmakers and the victim of the hijacking did not wish for their victim impact statements to be read out in open court.

Mr Costelloe had said that it would be apparent why the victim impact statements weren’t being read aloud and asked the judges to take that into consideration when giving their judgement.

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