29 Aug, 2021 @ 09:15
7 mins read

IN DEPTH: The Irish gang war that spilled out onto the streets of Spain’s Marbella

David Byrne Funeral
EDS NOTE IMAGE HAS BEEN PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESK The funeral of David Byrne takes place in Dublin, after he was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in the north of the city on Friday February 5 by a six strong gang, some armed with assault rifles.

IT was a bloody feud between two Irish gangs that started on the streets of the Costa del Sol, moved to Dublin and back, and resulted in the deaths of 18 people.

It brought daylight gunshots to the gilded streets of Marbella, featured fake cops in a notorious boxing match assasination and led to the deaths of three innocent people in cases of tragic mistaken identity.

But now the ‘war’ that saw Ireland’s powerful Kinahan clan take on the ruthless Hutch gang, also from the Emerald Isle, appears to be finally over with the arrest of one of the chief protagonists, Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, in Fuengirola, this month.

And the leader of the Kinahans – Daniel Kinahan – has long since left his Marbella bolthole to base himself in Dubai. As has his dad Christy.

Hutch Arrest 2
Irish Garda officer accompanied Guardia Civil when they arrested The Monk in Fuengirola

The war had pretty much petered out already with a number of trials taking place over the last few years… but perhaps the bloodshed had got too much even for two gangs that have never been slow to resort to violence.

The Monk has lost his elder brother, three nephews and several close friends in the shockingly violent feud. While the Kinahans – suspected of running Spain’s biggest cocaine gang – have lost several close members, either to the bullet or to lengthy jail terms.

The cycle of death started in 2014 when The Monk’s nephew Gary Hutch had started to rise through the ranks of the Kinahan mob.

But things turned sour when Daniel Kinahan, son of then boss Christy, refused to return €100,000 Gary had ‘invested’ in a drugs deal.

In classic gangster fashion, a Hutch hitman was dispatched to the Costa del Sol to kill Daniel. But he blundered badly and in a case of mistaken identity he shot and severely wounded innocent former boxer Jamie Moore, in Estepona. 

It was a high profile shooting, covered in the Olive Press, as the victim had been training British/Irish boxer Matthew Macklin, in preparation for the middleweight’s next fight.

Macklin was the face of MGM Marbella – a boxing stable and gym which was financed by Kinahan, in Puerto Banus.

According to reports the Hutch gang subsequently agreed to pay €200,000 ‘compensation’ to the Kinahans, although it is not known if the sum was ever handed over.

Either way, Gary Hutch obviously decided the situation was safe enough for him to live openly in Spain and after a few months returned to live in the Angeles de Miraflores urbanisation in Mijas. It would prove to be a fatal decision.

In September 2015 he was assassinated in the gardens of the urbanisation by a shadowy figure in a balaclava. 

Gary Hutch
Victim Gary Hutch was gunned down in Miraflores (Mijas)

An eye witness later told a court how Gary was chased through the gardens by hitman James Quinn. His last words were ‘No, no, no!’, but Quinn showed no mercy. And ended up with a 22 year stretch in a Spanish jail.

It was this broad daylight slaying that was to lead to the deaths of 17 more people and brought a whole new meaning to the term, the Costa del Crime.

The most notorious event in the bloodthirsty feud made headlines around the world.

It took place at the Regency Hotel in Dublin during the weigh-in for a WBO European lightweight title fight between Jamie Kavanagh and Antonio Joao Bento. 

Jamie coincidentally is the son of Gerard ‘The Hatchet’ Kavanagh who was a Kinahan ‘enforcer’ also murdered in Spain, in 2014.

Gerard Kavanagh 3
Gerard ‘The Hatchet’ Kavanagh was shot outside Harmon’s bar in Elviria (Marbella) Copyright Olive Press

In the shocking attack, two assassins dressed in black had approached him outside Harmon’s bar in Elviria (Marbella) and pumped him full of bullets. It is thought he had stolen money from the Kinahans. Never a good idea.

James Quinn – Gary Hutch’s later killer – was convicted of being a getaway driver, but he could not be pegged for the murder.

In the Regency raid the Hutch gang stormed the event, with two wearing Garda police uniforms and wielding AK-47 assault rifles. Another two were in army fatigues, while a fifth, believed to be Patrick Hutch, was disguised in drag and seen taking off his wig as he later fled. 

Their target was Daniel Kinahan, who was actually promoting the fight, in his then fledgling new career. As shots rang out around the hotel foyer, he somehow made his escape through a window. By the time the gunsmoke had cleared, Kinahan associate David Byrne lay dead, and a second man was injured. (It is for this attack that Gerry Hutch was this month detained in Fuengirola on a European arrest warrant.)

David Byrne Funeral
The funeral of David Byrne takes in Dublin, after he was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel. Picture Cordon Press

Three days after the Regency assault, taxi driver Eddie Hutch, 58, the Monk’s elder brother, was gunned down at his Dublin home. 

The same day Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan and Noel Kirwan, close friends of The Monk were also shot – and the cycle of bloodshed continued.

In the coming months and years a total of 18 people were to be killed. Sadly three of them had nothing to do with the feud and were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In April, 2016, Martin O’Rourke was killed in Dublin by Kinahan’s men. They thought he was someone else. Just 11 days later Michael Barr was shot dead at the Sunset House pub on Summerhill Parade in Dublin. He was a dissident republican who the Kinahans wrongly identified as one of the gunmen in the Regency Hotel shooting.

And a dream holiday turned to horror in August, 2016, when Irishman Trevor O’Neill was killed in front of his family while on a break in Mallorca in yet another case of ­mistaken identity.

Trevor O’neill
Innocent Trevor O’Neill was on a family holiday when he was killed in a case of mistaken identity

Over the following two years frequent assassinations and attempted killings took place from both sides of the feud.

The arrest of The Monk, and the departure to Dubai of Christy and Daniel Kinahan – who has been trying to break into the boxing promotion business – may finally have brought peace to the streets of the Costa del Sol – at least as far as the Kinahan-Hutch conflict is concerned.

Whether they will continue to jostle over the lucrative multi-billion euro cocaine trade coming out of Africa to Spain’s southern shores, only time will tell.


The bank robber ‘retired’ with €40m fortune Vs the ruthless king of the cocaine trade

Gerry Hutch


Gerry Hutch Facebook

Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch started life as a small-time gangster in Dublin, clocking up several minor  convictions in the seventies and early eighties. 

But he then hit the big time with a gang specialising in bank robberies and has avoided being convicted ever since.

He is rumoured to have ‘retired’ with a fortune of €40 million having been the mastermind behind a series of some of Ireland’s biggest heists including the €3.5 million armed robbery of a Brinks Allied Security Depot and the €1.98 million robbery of an armoured van, both in Ireland.

He lived for over a decade in the Canary Islands, mostly in Lanzarote where he is thought to own various properties, particularly around the ‘Irish Marbella’ of Puerto del Carmen.

He was nicknamed The Monk (the Spanish Google translated this to ‘the Friar’) for his ‘clean living’ by murdered Irish investigative journalist Veronica Guerin, played by Cate Blanchett, in the film named after her. 

She was killed after running a series of exposes on the Dublin gangster scene. 

In a rare, unprecedented agreement between the two enemies, both Hutch and Kinahan were reportedly ‘furious’ with fellow gangster John Gilligan for allegedly ordering the hit. 

Gilligan now lives in Torrevieja (Alicante), where police initially believed they had found the gun that had killed Guerin.

He was found not guilty of murdering Guerin in 1996, but was charged with drug smuggling by Spanish police last year and is out on bail awaiting trial.

Daniel Kinahan


Daniel Kinahan

THE boss of the Kinahan clan took over the reins from his father Christy over a decade ago. 

At the time of the feud the Kinahan family was based between Marbella and Sotogrande on the Costa del Sol. 

The family – including Daniel’s younger brother Christy Junior – has now moved to Dubai but are reputed to still control the Costa del Sol cocaine trade.

They also own plenty of properties, including pubs and bars, while Daniel previously ran a sports magazine, called Score, based out of the Cristamar centre, in Marbella, which later launched in the UK with a claimed print run of 250,000.

Since taking over leadership, Daniel has attempted to legitimise the family through the world of boxing. He did this firstly through the MGM gym in Puerto Banus – which is no longer associated with the Kinahans – and then through promoting fights.

Heavyweight champ Tyson Fury actually thanked Daniel for setting up a series of multi-million euro fights with Anthony Joshua in 2020. This caused a storm in Ireland, with questions being asked in the Irish parliament and Fury has since distanced himself from the Kinahans.

Timeline of death

  • AUGUST 3, 2014: Former boxer and TV pundit Jamie Moore shot in Estepona in a case of mistaken identity  by a Hutch hitman who was targeting Daniel Kinahan.
  • SEPTEMBER 24, 2015: Gary Hutch shot dead in Mijas by a Kinahan assassin.
  • FEBRUARY 5, 2016: Five Hutch gunmen attack the Regency Hotel in Dublin. David Byrne is shot dead and Sean McGovern is shot in the leg.
  • FEBRUARY 8, 2016: Eddie Hutch, brother of the Monk, is killed at his home. He is said to have no connection with violent crime. 
  • APRIL 14, 2016: In a case of mistaken identity, Martin O’Rourke is killed by Kinahan’s men.
  • APRIL 25, 2016: Michael Barr is wrongly identified as one of the Regency Hotel gunmen and is shot dead by the Kinahan clan. 
  • MAY 24, 2016: Gareth Hutch, a cousin of Gary and nephew of Eddie is shot dead. 
  • JULY 1, 2016: David Douglas is shot dead.
  • AUGUST 17, 2016: Innocent Trevor O’Neill is killed in front of his family while on holiday in Mallorca in a case of ­mistaken identity. 
  • DECEMBER 22, 2016: Noel Kirwan, a friend of Gerry Hutch is shot dead outside his home.
  • MAY 10, 2017: Hutch associate James ‘Mago’ Gately is shot five times.
  • MAY 31, 2017: Michael Keogh is shot dead by the Hutch gang.
  • DECEMBER 2, 2017: Caine ­Kirwan, son of Noel Kirwan, is killed by the Kinahans.
  • JANUARY 20, 2018: Derek Coakley-Hutch, a nephew of The Monk, is shot dead.
  • JANUARY 30, 2018: Jason Molyneux is shot dead by a two-man hit team having just returned home from the wake for Coakley-Hutch.
  • DECEMBER 22, 2018: Eric Fowler, who had ties to the ­Kinahan mob, is shot in the head by two gunmen in his own driveway in Dublin.
  • AUGUST 12, 2021: Gerry Hutch is arrested by Spanish police accompanied by Irish Garda in Fuengirola.


Previous Story

Singer RaRa performs charity concerts on Spain’s Costa del Sol to raise money for girl, 10, with cancer

Drill Bioparc 1
Next Story

Bioparc in Spain’s Valencia celebrates birth of highly threatened species of primate

Latest from Lead

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press