The last known sighting of fugitive crime lord Gerry “El Monje” Hutch was in southern Spain shortly before his disappearance, the Mirror can reveal.
The gang boss fell into grief last week when his 50-year-old sister Tina Moore collapsed in their Dublin home on Thursday and died, raising fears that he may return for the funeral.
Hutch, 58, was under police surveillance in the resort town of Fuengirola at the end of April when news of the European arrest warrant that had been issued to him leaked.
Gardai wants him for the murder of David Byrne during the infamous attack on the Regency Hotel in February 2016.
Hutch had been watched by the Spanish authorities in Malaga, but he may have been warned that they were watching him. He then fled to Romania before going ashore.
A senior source said: “Hutch was last seen in Fuengirola, on the southern coast of Spain, more than four weeks ago and would be very familiar with the area.
“Even in the 90s he had properties nearby in Malaga and in a not too distant place he would have had access to safe houses in southern Spain.
“The Spanish police were watching him, but once they notified him of the European arrest warrant, he went like the wind.”
It is understood that Hutch went to the Costa del Sol town after leaving Lanzarote, less than 48 hours before the police prepared to arrest him.
The Dubliner is very interested in Lanzarote, but felt threatened there by the Kinahans, in particular, and the police.
Detectives said Hutch, a master of disguise, has access to high-quality forged passports, at least one of which he would have used to leave Lanzarote after the arrest warrant was issued in Dublin four weeks ago.
The Monk has connections in Eastern Europe and the police believe he is using his huge cash reserves of some 30 million euros to stay one step ahead of the law and the Kinahan gunmen.
Hutch is believed to have left continental Europe last month as the international police manhunt gathered momentum.
It took detectives five years to gather evidence against Hutch after Byrne’s murder. The director of the Public Ministry believed that there were enough to charge him.
Interpol, Europol and all forces from here to the Russian border were informed and Hutch’s photo and physical description were widely circulated.
There is also an alert on the European Schengen information system stating that he is a wanted man and that his extradition to Ireland will be requested once captured.
Three days after the murder of David Byrne and a failed attempt to kill Daniel Kinahan, a cartel retaliated by killing the Monk’s beloved older brother, Eddie, a 59-year-old taxi driver and father of five who, although known to Gardai, it was not related to organized crime.
Byrne’s murder intensified the dispute between Kinahan and Hutch, which has so far claimed 18 lives.