A DUBLINER accused of murdering Gary Hutch on the Costa del Sol in September 2015 has claimed he was in bed with a hangover and a prostitute on the morning of the attack.
James Quinn, 36, is facing life imprisonment over the murder of Hutch on September 24 2015.
The defendant appeared before Judge Ernesto Carlos Manzano and a jury this afternoon at La Ciudad de la Justicia court in Malaga on the Costa del Sol.
Quinn is accused of shooting the 34-year-old Dubliner 15 times in the chest and the head after allegedly chasing him around the Angel de Miraflores residential estate in Mijas.
Quinn, who was dressed in a navy suit with a white shirt and blue striped tie, claimed on the morning of the attack he was ‘in bed with a hangover’ with a prostitute after attending a wedding the night before.
Barba interrogated the defendant asking why, after more than two years, he did not have an alibi.
“I didn’t want to implicate anyone,” he responded.
He added that he also did not know the name of the prostitute.
Prosecuting counsel Jose Barba claimed that according to estate CCTV footage Quinn had been hiding for more than two hours in a garage on the complex waiting for Hutch.
The state prosecutor claimed the suspect can be seen wearing a baseball cap but changes to a balaclava shortly before a ‘surprise’ attack on Hutch who was getting into his car.
Barba argued: “This was not a heated argument that got out of hand,” claiming Quinn was hired as a hitman by an unknown person and pointed out the Dubliner’s alleged involvement in organised crime.
He then allegedly chased Hutch twice around the swimming pool in the complex.
After shooting at him a number of times, Hutch lay ‘seriously injured and motionless, without any chance of defending himself’. The attacker then approached Hutch and shot him twice in the head.
The attacker fled through the back gate of the complex and took off with an unknown driver in a grey BMW X-3, which is believed to have been stolen.
Later that day, the BMW was found close to Marbella after it had been set on fire.
A third party intervened during the fire, meaning evidence was recovered from the car, such as two hats – one that was completely charred and the other in good condition, on which Quinn’s DNA was later found.
Prosecutors allege Quinn was armed during the attack with a 9mm Glock 26 semi-automatic pistol whose serial number had been erased and a .45 semi-automatic COLT 1911 pistol. It is believed he did not have a gun licence.
It was revealed that the guns believed to have been used to kill Hutch were found positive with Quinn’s DNA, during a search of the apartment where he was allegedly staying in Benahavis near Marbella some months later.
The defendant said he had no idea how his DNA had got there. The ‘only explanation’ he could offer was perhaps his clothes had mistakenly brushed against the gun, spreading his DNA.
The defendant said he and Hutch had met at a boxing club on the Costa del Sol where they both trained.
“We were associated but we weren’t best friends,” added the defendant, who said he did not know what Hutch did as a job.
The trial revolved around three key pieces of evidence – the BMW getaway car set on fire later, the cap with Quinn’s DNA, and CCTV footage from the residential estate.
Defence counsel Pedro Apalategui pointed out that if the car was ‘completely burnt’, as police officers wrote in reports when they found the car, it was difficult to understand how the ‘famous’ and ‘indestructible’ hat escaped the flames looking as good as new.
“Out of all of the objects in the car, how was only the hat saved?” he questioned. He pointed out that even two years later, it was still unknown who else was in the car that day.
A police official testifying behind a door responded that some parts of the car were less burnt than others.
Another police officer and an administrator for the estate CCTV also testified anonymously behind doors.
Mr Apalategui also asked for Judge Manzano to consider previous charges against Quinn in Ireland, such as driving without insurance, as they are considered much less serious.
The court heard how the accused has been ‘living the high life’ on the Costa del Sol, owning a €100,000 yacht, with trips to Thailand and Dubai, ‘despite having no known job or means of sustenance’.
Quinn claimed he had been paid ‘cash in hand’ – and only paid around half his earnings into a bank account – through renting yachts and tables at exclusive clubs in Puerto Banus. He insisted he had no link whatsoever to the Kinahan clan.
He also claimed he did not own the aforementioned yacht, but instead said he and a friend had put down a small deposit of €10,000, but could not afford the full amount and did not go through with the purchase.
The high-security trial saw six Guardia Civil officers gathered outside the court room shortly before the trial began, who revealed they were there for the defendant’s safety.
Inside the court room, Quinn was closely guarded by three Policia Nacional officers throughout the duration of the trial.
Quinn was arrested at Madrid Barajas airport in September 2016 under an official operation codenamed Geraneo, meaning Geranium.
If Quinn is found guilty, he will become only the second person to receive a ‘revisable’ life imprisonment sentence in Spain, since its return to a democratic state in 1975.
The trial continues tomorrow.