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Tyrone man allegedly stayed overnight at Regency Hotel in preparation for boxing weigh-in shooting, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 09/09/2016

A cordon at the scene of the shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin
A cordon at the scene of the shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin

A disabled Co Tyrone man wanted over a gangland murder at a Dublin hotel had stayed overnight in preparation for his alleged role in the shooting, a court heard today.

Gardai investigating the killing of David Byrne also claim Kevin Murray can be "clearly identified" on CCTV footage, a judge said.

Details emerged as the 46-year-old, was refused bail in his fight against being extradited to face charges over his alleged central part in the murder.

Murray was detained at his home in Townsend Street, Strabane on Monday under a European Arrest Warrant issued by authorities in the Irish Republic.

He is being sought in connection with the fatal gun attack at the Regency Hotel in Dublin on February 5.

Byrne, a 34-year-old father of two from the Crumlin area, was shot dead when masked men dressed as Garda officers opened fire with automatic guns.

His killing ignited a deadly feud between members of the rival Kinahan and Hutch gangs.

Murray is wanted in connection with alleged offences of murder, possession of a firearm with intent, and possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances.

He was not brought to Belfast Recorder's Court for today's ruling on his bid to be released from custody.

Setting out reasons for denying bail, Her Honour Judge Patricia Smyth referred to evidence contained in the arrest warrant.

 She said it identified Murray as an alleged part of the gang involved in the murder of Byrne.

The warrant stated: "Following examination of CCTV footage and from photographic evidence obtained, the requested person was clearly identified by several members of An Garda Siochana."

Further identification was said to have been provided by other witnesses, including several members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Although Murray's home was searched in February, he has not made himself available to investigating gardai, the court heard.

He has made it clear that he will only take part in an identification procedure in Northern Ireland.

Referring again to the warrant, Judge Smyth continued that Murray allegedly stayed overnight at the Regency Hotel where Byrne was shot.

"The warrant alleges this was in preparation for his role on the murder the following day," she added.

Another man, 24-year-old Patrick Hutch of Champions Avenue in Dublin, has already been charged with the murder.

During today's hearing it was claimed that he was a second member of the gang, acting with Murray.

Counsel for the Irish authorities opposed the Strabane man's bail application due to the risk of flight.

Murray's legal team argued that his deteriorating health, which has ed to his reliance on a walking aid and undergoing brain scans amid fears he may be developing multiple sclerosis, meant there was no chance of him absconding.

His brothers, who attended court for the hearing, were also prepared to put up a £10,000 cash surety.

But Judge Smyth held that Murray's attitude to the authorities was "highly relevant" to concerns he could flee.

She accepted he currently has significant physical impairment for currently unexplained reasons.

Refusing bail, she confirmed: "The requested person will remain in custody." The judge stressed that a full hearing of the extradition case must be completed "in the very near future".

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