THE parents of Limerick businessman Roy Collins were the first people to be informed that two men were to be charged with his murder, the Irish Independent can exclusively reveal.
Steve and Carmel Collins, who had secretly returned to Ireland from their new home abroad, had an emotional meeting two days ago with the officer in charge of the investi- gation, Chief Supt Dave Sheehan.
The couple, who had been back in Limerick for several weeks to visit their family, were told criminals Wayne Dundon and Nathan Killeen were to be charged on Thursday.
The Collinses left Ireland again this morning to join their children, Leanne and Steve Jnr, in the country they moved to last March under a witness relocation programme.
A garda source told the Irish Independent: "Once the DPP sent directions to prefer murder charges it was decided to bring the two men before the courts before Steve and Carmel left the country again.
"Chief Supt Sheehan met them at their home on Thursday evening so that they were the first to know that two men were to be formally charged. He also briefed them on the overall case.
"It was a very emotional meeting. They were delighted at the news that the investigation has progressed so far."
A family member last night told the Irish Independent that the couple were "deeply moved and delighted" at the news.
"Steve rang the kids to tell them. They're all over the moon and they feel that justice is being done for Roy. They are going back to their new home very happy indeed," said the family member.
"They've been living a nightmare since Roy's murder and that is why they decided to leave the country in an attempt to start a new life."
The Collinses have already established a new business in their adopted country after the authorities there agreed to their relocation following negotiations with the Departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs.
"They've settled in well and are enjoying life now. The business is being run by Steve and Steve Jnr and it is doing very well," the family member added.
Before he left Ireland last March, Mr Collins said they could no longer live with the stress and fear of being constantly under threat and needing protection.
He said at the time: "It's time for us to go away and start again, even though it's going to be heartbreaking to leave Roy's grave.
"It's time to get the family together again and make up for the hard years we've had looking for justice and looking over our shoulders.
"We have to find some peace of mind."
Mr Collins is expected to return to Ireland to testify at the trial of Dundon and Killeen.
Roy (35) died in his father's arms after being shot several times outside the family's amusement arcade in Limerick on April 9, 2009.
Killer James Dillon (26) is serving life after admitting Roy's murder two years ago.
The Irish Independent can reveal that gardai made a breakthrough in the case when several individuals gave detectives detailed statements and indicated they were prepared to testify in a trial.
It is understood one man has admitted he was offered a contract to murder Steve Collins but turned it down.
The task was then passed to Dillon, who carried out the actual shooting.