Man wanted over Dublin gangland murder has motor neuron disease

David Byrne was shot dead at the Regency Hotel, Dublin earlier this year
David Byrne was shot dead at the Regency Hotel, Dublin earlier this year

A Co Tyrone man fighting extradition over his alleged role in a gangland murder at a Dublin hotel has motor neuron disease, a court heard today.

Kevin Murray’s life-limiting condition was revealed as he mounted a renewed bid to be released on bail.

His lawyers insisted the diagnosis removes any risk in releasing him, and raises issues over his fitness to stand trial on charges connected to the killing of David Byrne earlier this year.

Barrister Desmond Fahy said: “He’s incapacitated, he’s unable to feed himself and he’s in a wheelchair.”

Murray, 46, was detained at his home in Townsend Street, Strabane in September under a European Arrest Warrant issued by authorities in the Irish Republic.

He is wanted in connection with the fatal gun attack at Dublin’s Regency Hotel 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 being sought over 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.

At an earlier hearing Murray appeared in court using a walking aid due to a debilitating condition.

Belfast Recorder’s Court was told today that further medical examinations have confirmed a diagnosis of motor neuron disease - a rare condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system.

Murray remains in custody but is undergoing treatment at a hospital in the city.

With an extradition proceedings set to be determined early in the New Year, Honour Judge Patricia Smyth heard arguments on whether the best care can be provided within the prison setting or at home.

Mr Fahy contended: “If the flight risk is reduced to nil, if there’s no risk of commission of further offences, and no risk of interference with witnesses, the presumption in favour of bail prevails.”

The barrister also claimed Murray’s health is central to any deciding on the bid to subject him to criminal proceedings in the Republic.

“If this state feels it would be unjust and oppressive, given his current (condition) and he wouldn’t be fit to stand trial in this jurisdiction, it would be unjust and oppressive to extradite him to somewhere else to face trial,” Mr Fahy added.

Adjourning the bail application, Judge Smyth directed the relevant health trust to provide information on the issue of Murray being cared for in the community.