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beginning of end Gardaí refused to abandon Regency Hotel probe despite trial collapse and detective's suicide

The brutal attack on Daniel Kinahan at the Regency Hotel sparked a wave of blood-letting that led to 18 murders

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The brutal attack on Daniel Kinahan at the Regency Hotel sparked a wave of blood-letting that led to 18 murders.

The brutal attack on Daniel Kinahan at the Regency Hotel sparked a wave of blood-letting that led to 18 murders.

The brutal attack on Daniel Kinahan at the Regency Hotel sparked a wave of blood-letting that led to 18 murders.

When Patrick Hutch walked free from the Special Criminal Court in 2019 after the collapse of his trial for the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel, some had the mistaken belief that the investigation into the events of that day was effectively over.

The trial had collapsed as a result of the tragic suicide of lead investigator Det Supt Colm Fox, who died at Ballymun Garda Station on February 10, 2018.

The trial against Patrick Hutch was about to re-commence at the time of Det Supt Fox's death.

Earlier, there had been legal argument in relation to identification evidence offered by two gardaí, which was ruled admissible.

The trial was adjourned following Det Supt Fox's death and a nolle prosequi was entered in February 2019 after the court was told the prosecution "was not in a position to lead evidence on a number of evidential topics".

Before the trial collapsed, the State had alleged that Patrick Hutch was one of two men photographed by the Sunday World carrying firearms at the Regency Hotel attack.

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The two gunmen flee the scene of the shooting.

The two gunmen flee the scene of the shooting.

The two gunmen flee the scene of the shooting.

They had claimed he had been the man infamously disguised as a woman in the photographs.

Gardaí believed that a second man wearing a flat cap at the attack was Tyrone man Kevin Murray.

Murray was arrested in the North over the attack and was facing extradition before it was revealed he was battling motor neurone disease and was not well enough to be extradited. He died as a result of his illness in 2017 and never faced trial.

Despite what many believed, when Patrick Hutch walked from court as members of the Byrne family shouted "where's the justice", the investigation into the Regency Hotel was very much ongoing as gardaí in Ballymun, led by Det Supt Paul Scott, were quietly working away in the background.

The Sunday World revealed in November 2019 that extra detectives had been assigned to the investigating team and gardaí were hopeful of bringing further charges as part of the probe.

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"People might think the investigation is effectively over, but it is still ongoing and officers are working on a file," a source told us at the time.

Those claims were shown to be true in April this year when officers got the go-ahead to make a series of arrests and issue a European Arrest Warrant against Gerry Hutch in connection with the attack, as the DPP ruled there was enough evidence to charge him with murder.

The evidence against Hutch is believed to include electronic surveillance gathered in the wake of the Regency attack.

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Daniel Kinahan (right) with Freddie Thompson

Daniel Kinahan (right) with Freddie Thompson

Daniel Kinahan (right) with Freddie Thompson

Postings on social media accounts in days before news of the warrant was made public suggested that people close to Hutch had been tipped-off he was being sought by gardaí and he went to ground.

It is unclear how the news leaked but details of EAWs are sent to all police forces across the EU after they are issued.

As well as securing a warrant for Hutch's arrest, gardaí swooped on four other suspects in the case in April.

They included former Sinn Féin Councillor Jonathan Dowdall, who was brought before the Special Criminal Court on April 27 charged with a single count of the murder of David Byrne at the hotel on the Swords Road, Whitehall, on February 5, 2016.

Dowdall's appearance came days after his father and two other men appeared in court charged in connection with the Regency attack.

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David Byrne was killed.

David Byrne was killed.

David Byrne was killed.

Patrick Dowdall (64), of Navan Road, Dublin 7, Jason Bonney (50) of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 15, and Paul Murphy (59), of Cherry Avenue, in Swords, were brought before the court on April 20 this year.

Patrick Dowdall - the father of co-accused Jonathan Dowdall - is charged with having knowledge of a criminal gang and helping it carry out the murder of David Byrne by making a room available at the Regency Hotel to its members on February 4, 2016.

Jason Bonney and Paul Murphy are accused of assisting the criminal gang in the murder by each making a motor vehicle available to its members on the day of the murder.

During separate bail hearings in April the court heard the two men are alleged to have been part of an organised crime gang which carried out the murder, and that they provided logistical support to its members by dropping the gunmen to and from the scene.

The case was adjourned until September 30 when an indication will be given if a trial date is required and how long the trial is expected to last.

Meanwhile, investigations are continuing and gardai are hopeful of bringing charges against other suspects in relation to the attack.

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