Accused laughed just before fatal shots, trial is told
The past week has undoubtedly been deeply upsetting for the family of Limerick man Roy Collins as they relived the nightmare of his murder in the sober surroundings of the Special Criminal Court.
Steve Collins, his wife Carmel, their children and grandchildren have already paid an immeasurable price for standing up to evil.
Their stepson Ryan Lee was shot and seriously injured as he worked behind the counter in the family's pub which was subsequently burned down.
And five years later Roy (35), a father of two little girls, was shot dead in his amusement arcade. Every day this week the family slowly relived his murder as they heard from a variety of sources about the events leading up to it.
Yesterday the Special Criminal Court trial of Limerick men Nathan Killeen (24) of Hyde Road, Prospect and Wayne Dundon (36), of Lenihan Avenue, heard that Mr Killeen was laughing and told people to "listen out for sirens" shortly before the murder. Both men have pleaded not guilty to murder.
Lisa Collins, the partner of Christopher McCarthy (31), who is a cousin of Wayne Dundon, told the court Mr Killeen said he was going up to the Steering Wheel pub to shoot Steve Collins.
On Monday, Steve Collins was one of the first witnesses to take the stand. Despite years of intimidation that forced his family to enter a witness relocation programme he insisted on returning home to give evidence.
He described how that morning had started like most others with armed gardai escorting him to the Steering Wheel pub at Roxboro which he owned for 22 years.
At around 11am Roy, who owned the gaming arcade next door, called in to see his dad before he opened for the day.
They spent 10 or 15 minutes talking about Roy's plans to buy a new kitchen. It was to be their last conversation.
Around noon a man ran in to Steve to tell him there was "a fellow bleeding next door".
Steve saw the wound on his son's shoulder and the bullet lying on the ground beneath him. "I'm after being shot, dad," Roy gasped.
The non-jury court has been told that the 'meat of the case' was to be found in the evidence of five associates of the accused.
Three were siblings Gareth, Lisa and April Collins, along with Christopher McCarthy and Anthony 'Noddy' McCarthy, first cousins of the Dundons.
Gareth Collins told the court that he was offered €20,000 to be the getaway driver in the killing of Steve Collins.
He claimed that on the morning of the murder he was under intense pressure and in fear for the safety of his family over his refusal to take part in the crime.
But the prosecution produced text messages from his phone which showed that the witness was still able to "send flirty texts to some young one".
"There is a clear exchange of texts between Natasha Long and you at a time when you are telling this court you were staring out a window not knowing what to do," the prosecution said.
Christopher McCarthy said that on April 9, 2009 he was at home with Lisa and Gareth Collins when Nathan Killeen and James Dillon called to the house in the morning. He said Nathan Killeen "didn't look happy".
The case continues next week.