35-year-old James Quinn plans to appeal his conviction

Dubliner James Quinn has been jailed for 22 years by a Spanish court over the murder of Gary Hutch.

The September 24th 2015 killing is said to have sparked the deadly gangland feud that has seen up to 18 people murdered in the city.

Following his conviction last Friday, the 35-year-old was warned that he faced a maximum prison sentence of 28 years.

However Spanish Judge Ernesto Carlos Manzano this morning sentenced him to 20 years for murder and two years for weapons possession.

The gun charge relates to a weapon found during a search of Quinn’s home - and not the two guns recovered from the getaway BMW used by Hutch’s killers.

A Garda handout photo of James Quinn's arrest in September 2016. Image: An Garda Síochána

At the outset of the trial, prosecutor Jose Barba accused Quinn of being the gunman who shot Mr Hutch in the head after chasing him in his gated housing estate in Miraflores near the Costa del Sol resort of Fuengirola.

However, he later gave the jury the option of convicting him of murder as the getaway driver and lookout.

In the end, the jury found him guilty on the basis that he was a “necessary participant” in the murder.

Delivering his sentence, Judge Manzano said he would not hand down the maximum time available to him because of Quinn's clean criminal record in Spain and the fact that he was not the shooter.

The nearly two years he has already spent in a Spanish jail will be taken into account.

The judge also ordered the Dubliner to pay €90,000 in compensation to the Hutch family as well as the court costs.

A Garda handout photo of James Quinn's arrest in September 2016. Image: An Garda Síochána

At the start of his trial last Monday, Quinn insisted he was in bed with a post-wedding hangover and a prostitute when Mr Hutch, nephew of Kinahan rival Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch, was killed.

He failed to provide any evidence for the alibi and the state prosecutor described his claims in court as a “collection of the outlandish.”

Mr Barba told jurors before they retired to consider their verdict that the baseball cap was crucial.

“I think if James Quinn ever admitted to regretting anything it wouldn’t be the murder of Gary Hutch but the fact he didn’t destroy the now famous baseball cap which has ended up certifying his involvement in the killing,” he said.

Quinn’s defence lawyer Pedro Apalategui, said last week he would “definitely appeal” the verdict to a higher court where three judges and not a jury will make the decisions.

He said: “We completely disagree with the verdict and will definitely be appealing once we know the sentence.”

Any appeal will be heard by a provincial court in Granada and Mr Apalategui is hopeful it could take place as soon as September. 

Reporting by Gerard Couzens