Jonathan Keogh swore on his baby's life he didn't shoot Gareth Hutch, ex partner tells court

Gareth Hutch

By By Alison O'Riordan

The former partner of murder accused Jonathan Keogh said he swore to her on their baby daughter’s life that he did not shoot Gareth Hutch, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Denise King said she knew there was a threat on Mr Keogh's life and he would often stay in her flat as he felt safe there.

Ms King said Regina Keogh came to her flat hours after Mr Hutch was fatally shot and told her to bring an envelope of cash to her brother in Belfast. She later counted the money and there was €2,000 cash in it.

Mr Hutch (36), nephew of Gerry “the Monk” Hutch was shot dead as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street in Dublin on the morning of May 24, 2016. He died as a result of four gun shot injuries.

Thomas Fox (31) with an address at Rutland Court, Dublin 1, Regina Keogh (41) from Avondale House, Cumberland Street North, Dublin 1 and Mr Keogh (32) of Gloucester Place, Dublin 1, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Hutch.

Mr Fox has also denied unlawfully possessing a Makarov 9 mm handgun on May 23, 2016 at the same place.

Giving evidence this afternoon, Denise King told prosecuting counsel Paul Burns SC that she has five children and Jonathan Keogh is the father of her youngest child.

Ms King said she was in a relationship with Mr Keogh but it ended in November 2015. They had no contact until March 2016, a week before she gave birth to their daughter. After she had her baby, Ms King said Jonathan Keogh started coming to her flat to see their child.

Ms King said Jonathan Keogh would often contact her late at night to stay in her flat as there were security cameras near there and "due to the threat on his life” he felt safe there.

Two days before Mr Hutch was shot, Ms King said she was drinking in The Clonliffe House when she received a Facebook message from Mr Keogh asking if he could stay as he had no where else to go. Mr Keogh stayed on her sofa that night and left before 9am the following morning.

Ms King said she later got a message from him on Facebook saying he had left his blue and black Nokia phone behind. He arrived at her flat that day in a Gold Honda Civic and beeped his horn. Ms King said no one else was in the car with him and she handed him the phone.

Ms King said Mr AB was in a silver Skoda car behind Mr Keogh and he drove after him up the road. The witness said there were a lot of photos on Facebook of Mr Keogh and Mr AB and she had seen them together.

The prosecution contend that Mr Keogh threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting, that Mr Fox and Ms Keogh were instrumental in planning the murder, and Mr Keogh and another man, Mr AB, were the shooters.

Ms King said she heard Mr Keogh come into her flat around 1am on the Monday night before the shooting and she later overheard him on his phone telling someone he'd “had a fight with the Hutch fella.”

The witness said Mr Keogh was gone when she woke up the next morning on May 24 and she met a friend in the park. She said she became aware there had been a shooting in Avondale House on her way to the park.

At 2.30pm that day, she said, Regina Keogh arrived at her flat. Ms Keogh had an envelope in her hand with money in it and said "bring that to Belfast.” Ms King subsequently counted the money and it amounted to €2,000, divided into €50 notes.

Ms King told Mr Burns she believed Mr Keogh had a threat on his life and he was scared. She said he had shown her three GIM (Garda Information Messages) forms.

The court heard Mr Keogh had told Ms King on the Sunday that he planned to leave the country the next day. He told her again on the Monday that he planned to leave on the next day.

Ms King said she was surprised that Regina asked her to do this and afterwards she went on a sunbed in Finglas, to the shops and collected DVD’s off a friend before she came back home.

Ms King told the court “I said fuck it, I’m going to Belfast” and she got the 7pm bus there that evening. Mr Keogh rang her from a Belfast number when she was getting the bus and asked her where she was. He rang her a second time before she arrived in Belfast at 10.30pm that night.

Ms King said she then met her sister who lived in Belfast and whilst there Mr Keogh rang her again from a pub. “I asked him what he was doing in the pub if his life in danger,” she said. Mr Keogh sent a woman she did not know to collect her and she brought her to Mr Keogh in the pub. Mr Keogh and a “really smartly dressed” man in his late 50’s were there when she arrived. The four of them stayed drinking in the pub for 40 minutes before they went for a Chinese.

Ms King said it was too late to go back to her sister’s house so this woman booked her and Mr Keogh a room in The Holiday Inn. The room was booked in Ms King’s name, the court heard.

When Ms King and Mr Keogh went into the room, she asked him if he had shot Mr Hutch. Mr Keogh swore on their baby’s life that he didn’t do it. “I left it at that and gave him the money,” she said. Ms King said he didn’t count it and just put it under a tray. Ms King was not given any of the money.

The next morning, Ms King said Mr Keogh was looking on the internet in the room for a place in Manchester. She said he was on the phone and she heard something about a boat. Ms King later went with Mr Keogh to buy a grey tracksuit and to get his hair cut.

They then went to the ferry port and he got the ferry to Scotland. She said he seemed sad when he was leaving.

Ms King said she got the bus back to Dublin and got home at 8pm. When she turned on her phone at 1am she had two texts from Mr Keogh. The first text said he was sorry he had to go and she was to bring up their daughter the way Ms King was. The second message read: Why are you not answering your phone, your probably off with someone else.” The gardaí later took this phone off her, the court heard.

At the opening of the trial, the prosecution told the court that the killing of Mr Hutch was not a spontaneous or spur of the moment act but a “brutal and callous murder”. “It was premeditated and a significant amount of planning had gone into it,” counsel said.

The prosecution say the three co-accused each had their own part to play in bringing about the death of Mr Hutch.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge Michael Walsh.

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