A photographer who saw the Regency Hotel stormed by gunmen says in court one of the attackers came out and said: “He wasn’t there, I couldn’t see him.”

A PHOTOGRAPHER who witnessed the Regency Hotel being stormed by gunmen told the Special Criminal Court one of the attackers came out and said: “He wasn’t there, I couldn’t see him.”

Earlier, a reporter he worked with told him he “sighted” Daniel Kinahan at the boxing weigh-in that was being held at the hotel.

Photographer Colin O’Riordan said the attackers were dressed as Gardaí ERU members, but realized they were “completely fake” when he saw them with AK47s.

He said he was “scared for life” and raised his hands as the attackers ran past him.

At the trial of Gerard “The Monk” Hutch, 59, evidence was brought into the murder of David Byrne in a gangland shooting at the Regency.

Mr Byrne, 33, a member of the Kinahan gang, was killed when attackers, including masked men dressed as Gardai, stormed the north Dublin hotel and opened fire on 5 February 2016.

The raid came as a bloody feud was raging between the capital’s Kinahan and Hutch crime gangs.

Mr Hutch of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin denies murdering the father of two.
Co-defendants Paul Murphy, 59, of Cherry Avenue, Swords, and Jason Bonney, 50, of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, deny facilitating the murder by providing the criminal organization that carried it out with access to vehicles.

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Gerry Hutch – picture by RTE Primetime

The trial in court without a jury and three judges began yesterday amid heightened security and evidence was heard today for the second day.

Mr O’Riordan, then a photographer with Independent News and Media, said in evidence he had been asked to attend the regency to cover the weigh-in.

There he met reporter Robin Schiller and they walked inside where Mr O’Riordan took pictures of the weigh-in with his iPhone. Outside, Herr Schiller told him he had seen Daniel Kinahan and that he had been across the room.

Mr O’Riordan said he couldn’t see Kinahan and wasn’t 100% sure what he looked like at the time.

“We have decided that there is nothing more in it. We talked about what we saw inside, which wasn’t really much, next we heard a bang and Robin said it was a gunshot,” Mr O’Riordan said.

“Almost immediately, two people, dressed in Garda ERU style, paramilitary style, appeared up the steps, with AK47s, balaclavas and all the paraphernalia of the Emergency Response Unit Gardai.”

He was “surprised and confused” but as the two entered the building “one thought was that the Gardai don’t use AK47s,” Mr O’Riordan said.

“No units in the Gardaí use AK47s, so that was completely wrong,” he said.

He took photos and was later able to determine that they were wearing black sneakers, which Gardaí were not wearing.

He heard another shot behind him and saw the barrel of another similar gun sticking out in the gap between two vans.

A man out for a walk was told to “get out of here” after the shot was fired. This man dropped a grocery bag and ran into a bush in a blind panic.

Mr O’Riordan then heard gunfire inside the hotel, from the foyer. Herr Schiller then left, he said.

The two gunmen ran into the hotel and Mr O’Riordan stayed where he was rather than “scaring” the third person “for fear he was going to shoot me”.

Mr O’Riordan could see into the hotel where one of the people was standing on the desk “with a gun pointed at a guy behind the desk”. There were words between them before the shooter turned and jumped back down.

There was more shooting, screaming and shouting and moments later the two gunmen left the hotel. “I was afraid for my life,” he said.

“I put my hands up and said, ‘Guard, I don’t know where I should be,'” he said.

They walked briskly past him, guns over their bodies, toward a silver van.

Mr O’Riordan saw a man disguised as a woman come out with a gun “some kind of pistol”. He wore a blonde wig and was “too tall to have been a woman”.

Mr O’Riordan heard this man say ‘He wasn’t there, I couldn’t see him’ and someone else said ‘get out of here’ before they left.

The trial will continue before Ms. Justice Tara Burns, Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

It was due to open earlier this month but was delayed after co-defendant Jonathan Dowdall pleaded guilty to facilitating the 2016 murder and made himself available as a state witness.

On Monday, former Sinn Fein councilman Dowdall, 44, and his father Patrick Dowdall, 65, became the first people to be convicted and sentenced in the Regency attack. They admitted to having given the perpetrators a room in the hotel.

Jonathan Dowdall was sentenced to four years in prison and his father to two years.

Jonathan Dowdall was originally charged with the murder of Mr Byrne, but those charges were dropped by prosecutors after he pleaded guilty to the lesser offence.

The only other person to be tried in the Regency shooting was a nephew of Gerard Hutch, Patrick Hutch, who had been charged with murder and possession of a gun but went free in 2019 when the charges against him were dropped by the state .

Gerard Hutch was brought back to Ireland from Spain to stand trial here in September 2021 after losing a final appeal against his extradition.

He was arrested by the Guardia Civil on the Costa del Sol in August last year on the basis of a warrant issued in Ireland and has been held in custody ever since.

https://www.independent.ie/news/photographer-who-saw-regency-hotel-stormed-by-gunmen-tells-court-one-of-the-raiders-came-out-saying-he-wasnt-there-i-couldnt-see-him-42079156.html A photographer who saw the Regency Hotel stormed by gunmen says in court one of the attackers came out and said: “He wasn’t there, I couldn’t see him.”

Fry Electronics Team

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