Northern Ireland

Boxing weigh-in murder: Extradition halted as accused is dying

The man who died was David Byrne, 33, from Raleigh Square in Crumlin, south Dublin Image copyright Paddy Cummins
Image caption David Byrne was from Raleigh Square in Crumlin, south Dublin

Attempts to extradite a County Tyrone man over his alleged role in a Dublin gangland murder are to be halted because he is dying, a judge has ruled.

Kevin Murray, 47, was wanted in connection with the killing of David Byrne.

The 34-year-old was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in February last year.

Extradition proceedings were ended because Mr Murray has been diagnosed with rapidly deteriorating and terminal motor neurone disease.

The judge at Belfast Recorder's Court on Tuesday said she was satisfied that the "only appropriate course I can take is to discharge the requested person".

Mr Murray was arrested last September at his home by PSNI officers using a European Arrest Warrant issued by authorities in the Republic of Ireland.

He was being sought for 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.

Lawyers for Mr Murray opposed his extradition by claiming it was unlikely he would ever stand trial because his motor neurone disease was so severe.

They argued that would be unjust and oppressive to send a man receiving end of life care to the Republic of Ireland.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Two other men were injured in the hotel attack, which Gardaí linked to a gangland feud in Dublin

Medical opinion backed their contention that his condition was rapidly worsening and will lead to eventual death.

The court was told Mr Murray is completely bedridden, suffering from respiratory difficulties and being fed through a tube.

He is also unable to converse and has limited power in his arms and legs.

Lawyers for the Irish state accepted that his extradition was currently barred, but sought a three-month adjournment to see if there was any improvement in his condition.

The judge said: "Its clear from the doctor's report of March 2017 that the requested person is dying of motor neurone disease."

She added that a fresh extradition application could be made if medical opinion changed in the future.

Two other men were injured in the shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin after masked men dressed as Garda (Irish police) officers opened fire with automatic guns during a boxing weigh-in at the venue.

The murder ignited a deadly feud between members of the rival Kinahan and Hutch gangs.