Saturday, 3 Jun 2023

How Gerry 'the Monk' Hutch climbed to the top of an Irish drug cartel

How Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch – nicknamed for his abstinence from booze or drugs – went from stealing a bottle of lemonade aged eight to the head of an Irish drug cartel with a price on his head as he’s cleared of murder

  • Hutch, now 60, has been found not guilty of murdering David Byrne in 2016 
  • Byrne was shot six times in a Dublin hotel, sparking the Hutch/Kinahan feud

The criminal Godfather was at the heart of Ireland’s gangland ‘trial of the century’. But who is Gerry “The Monk” Hutch now said to be a marked man after a bloody feud with a rival drugs cartel in Dublin?

Hutch is a career armed robber who pulled off two of Dublin’s biggest bank raids in the 1990s.

Nicknamed The Monk because of his almost total abstinence from drugs or alcohol, he boasts a multi-million pound property portfolio stretching from Turkey to Dublin, including London, Lanzarote, Hungary and Bulgaria.

At one point Hutch briefly flirted with running a taxi agency and would ferry Mike Tyson around in a white Hummer limo when the former heavyweight boxing champion visited Dublin.

But an ongoing eight year feud with rival Irish gangsters saw him go back underground – and that turf war has now left 18 people murdered, including Hutch’s nephew, and seen police seize millions of Euros of crime proceeds and hundreds of weapons – without managing to stop the violence.

Gerry “The Monk” Hutch (left) outside the Special Criminal Court, Dublin, after he was found not guilty of the murder of David Byrne at a hotel in Dublin in 2016. Pictured 17 April 2023

Hutch leaving the High Court in 1999, where the Criminal Assets Bureau were seeking to seize money, having described him as a ‘gang leader’

Journalist Paul Williams, author of “The Monk, the Life and Crimes of Ireland’s Most Enigmatic Gang Boss”, has chronicled how Hutch’s criminal origins began with the theft of a bottle of lemonade, aged just eight, in 1971, which earned him a £1 fine.

‘By the time he was eighteen he had amassed another thirty convictions for assault, larceny, car theft, joy riding and malicious damage,’ wrote Williams.

‘He served a total of ten custodial sentences in St Patrick’s Institution for young offenders and Mountjoy Prison.’

As a teenager Hutch ran with a group of tearaways who were nick-named the Bugsy Malones, after the 1976 Alan Parker film.

Williams described how ‘Hutch and the other “Bugsy Malones” became prolific burglars and car thieves, before eventually progressing to armed robberies.’

In the 1990s his gang was suspected of three major bank robberies which cemented his reputation, netting the equivalent of £12m in used notes in today’s money.

But although the Monk stayed out of prison in the 1990s, he had a new enemy in the shape of the newly established CAB.

He was hit with a huge tax bill and ended up paying £1.2m after four years of court cases.

In 2005, he bought the white Hummer stretch-limo, posing for photos wearing a wide grin and a chauffeur’s peaked cap.

He even called it CAB – “Carry Any Body” – in a cheeky reference to the state agency which had confiscated at least some of his fortune.

Hutch bought a Hummer limousine in 2005, which he called CAB – “Carry Any Body”

‘At one point Hutch flirted with running a taxi agency and would ferry Mike Tyson around in a white Hummer limo when the former heavyweight boxing champion visited Dublin.’

Not long after that, it looked as though Hutch may be on the road to retirement when he settled in Lanzarote with his wife Patricia, but a blood feud with the feared Kinahan cocaine cartel – which led directly to the Regency Hotel murder – put paid to that.

The tit-for-tat killings between the two organised crime groups have left at least 18 men dead in Ireland and Spain – some of them bystanders killed by mistake.

READ MORE: Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch looks unrecognisable outside court as he is found not guilty of murder of Kinahan cartel associate David Byrne at Dublin boxing weigh-in – as two others are convicted of facilitating the killing


In the Regency raid, drug dealer and Kinahan associate David Byrne, 33, died after being shot six times at a crowded weigh-in event organised by Daniel Kinahan, 45, a boxing promoter named by the High Court in Ireland as the boss of the feared Kinahan cocaine cartel.

Daniel’s father, Christy Kinahan, 66, founder of the major drug trafficking group, is on the run, possibly in Zimbabwe, with a $5m reward on his head from the DEA and the Gardai.

The dramatic attack, where six gunmen stormed the building dressed as members of a police SWAT team, is believed to have been a Hutch gang attempt to kill Daniel Kinahan, who managed to escape.

The hit had its roots the previous year and fuelled a bloody cycle of revenge killings.

The Monk’s nephew Gary Hutch had been murdered in Miraflores near Malaga in September 2015, having been blamed by the Kinahans for an earlier attempt on Daniel Kinahan’s life.

A few months later, on New Year’s Eve, the Kinahans are believed to have targeted Gerry Hutch himself at a pub in Lanzarote, but he had already left.

Since 2016, more than a dozen other men have been shot dead by both sides, in tit-for-tat killings, some of them cases of mistaken identity.

And the bloodshed may be far from over — a security source said the immediate risk to Hutch’s life is ‘legitimate and a massive concern’ for gardaí.

They added that there was a potential for a return to bloodshed on the streets of Dublin if an attack were to occur.

The case also raised concerns at the way it was handled, with the prosecution relying heavily on a ‘supergrass’ witness Jonathan Dowdall, a former Sinn Fein councillor with links to the IRA, described by the judge, Ms Justice Burns, as ‘a ruthless, base, callous criminal.’

Dowdall admitted torturing and terrorising a man at his home in 2015, an incident described by the judge as a ‘truly appalling, shocking, and brutal assault punctuated by menacing threats’.

Gerry Hutch enjoys a night out in Lanzarote with James ‘Jaws’ Byrne and his wife Sadie in 2014

Hutch was acquitted after a 52-day trial at Ireland’s Special Criminal Court, found not guilty of the Regency Hotel murder of David Byrne. Pictured: a six man team leave the hotel after Byrne was shot six times in reception. Hutch was accused of hiring the team of assassins

Dowdall had been dishonest about his own involvement in the Regency events and his connections to the IRA. The judge said he told a ‘barefaced lie’ in court about the frequency of his visits to notorious IRA killer Pearse McAuley in prison.

McAuley, who murdered a Garda detective and staged a daring escaped from Brixton Prison with another Provo in 1991, was serving time in prison for stabbing his ex-wife multiple times in front of their children.

Another puzzling aspect of the trial was the charge of murder against The Monk – ie alleging that he was one of the gunmen, rather than the mastermind of the attack.

‘Gerry Hutch’s dramatic acquittal will generate more than a few questions regarding the handling of the case,’ wrote Paul Williams in the Irish Independent today.

‘Some will want to know why he wasn’t charged with possession of firearms and directing a criminal gang which were offences evident in the secret garda recordings [including conversations between Hutch and Dowdall]’

For Hutch, none of that mattered as he escaped the wheels of justice and showed the court a clean pair of heels.

Whether he’ll manage to evade his deadly enemies quite so neatly remains to be seen.

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