Belfast Telegraph

Regency Hotel murder: Tyrone man fighting extradition over alleged role under death threat, court told

A Co Tyrone man fighting extradition over his alleged role in a Dublin gangland murder is under death threat, a court heard on Friday.

Police have assessed the risk posed to Kevin Murray's life as being at a high level, a judge was told.

The 46-year-old, who remains in hospital after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease, is wanted in connection with the killing of David Byrne.

Byrne, 34, from the Crumlin area of Dublin, was shot dead at the city's Regency Hotel in February last year.

Masked men dressed as Garda officers opened fire with automatic guns during a boxing weigh-in at the venue.

The murder ignited a deadly feud between members of the rival Kinahan and Hutch gangs.

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

He is being sought for alleged offences of murder, possession of a firearm with intent, and possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances.

It was previously claimed in court that he had stayed overnight at the hotel in preparation for his alleged role in the shooting.

Gardai investigating the killing allege Murray can be clearly identified on CCTV footage and photographic evidence.

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

He is alleged to have acted with the Co Tyrone man as part of the same gang.

But lawyers for Murray claim he is unlikely to ever stand trial because his condition is irreversible and deteriorating at a rapid rate.

They have revealed that he is now being advised on end of life care.

At Belfast Recorders' Court today counsel for the Irish State confirmed no objection to bail was being raised.

Stephen Ritchie said: "We recognise he's bed-ridden, there's no flight risk.

"The court must now determine where is the best place for him to be cared because he is very ill."

Even though a care plan has been put together, Mr Ritchie contended that any release remains "fraught with difficulty".

He told Her Honour Judge Patricia Smyth that Murray has been assessed as being subject to a death threat.

The PSNI have assessed the risk to his life as being at a high level, the court head.

Mr Ritchie also confirmed authorities in Dublin want to have Murray examined by another medical expert appointed by them.

Defence barrister Desmond Fahy told the court police had been in contact with his client about the threat before his arrest.

A plan for ensuring Murray's security and care could be finalised by the PSNI and the relevant health trust within days, he predicted.

Adjourning the case, Judge Smyth pointed out: "In principle the Irish Government do not oppose bail, the issue for consideration would be bail conditions."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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