Gardai deny girlfriend was 'bait'
Geoghegan murder accused only confessed after partner detained, trial told
A DETECTIVE denied yesterday that gardai tried to extract a confession from a murder suspect by using the mother of his sick child as "bait".
Garryowen rugby player Shane Geoghegan (28) was shot five times in the head and upper body in the early hours of November 9, 2008 at the Clonmore Estate, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, in Limerick.
Father-of-three Barry Doyle (25), of Portland Row in Dublin and Hyde Road in Limerick, denies the charge of murder at the trial at the Central Criminal Court.
Mr Geoghegan's mother and girlfriend, Jenna Barry, sat together in court as evidence in the trial drew to a close.
Mr Justice Paul Carney heard that Mr Doyle had been interviewed by gardai on a total of 23 occasions over the course of four days, from February 24, 2009 until February 28, and had repeatedly denied any involvement with the killing until the 15th interview.
Mr Doyle's barrister, Martin O'Rourke, put it to Det Gda Mark Philips of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, that Mr Doyle had only made a confession after gardai had revealed to him that they had also detained his girlfriend Vicki Gunnery -- with whom he has a daughter, who was born with a hole in her heart -- on possession of information.
The barrister suggested that gardai had attempted to induce Mr Doyle.
However, this suggestion was strongly denied by the detective, who said a deal offering a confession in exchange for Ms Gunnery's release had been made by Mr Doyle himself through his solicitor and was firmly rejected in "no uncertain terms".
Mr O'Rourke read a memo that Sgt Philips had prepared after the meetings with Mr O'Donnell, claiming it did not state that the deal had been rejected and accused the detective of lying.
During the 14th interview, gardai showed a picture of Mr Geoghegan to Mr Doyle, asking him if it was fair to say that he didn't deserve to die.
"Yeah," replied Mr Doyle.
Asked what word he would use to describe his death, Mr Doyle said: "Tragic."
"Was it a mistake that he was shot?" gardai asked, and Mr Doyle again replied: "Yeah."
Asked the reason for the extensive media coverage of the shooting, Mr Doyle said it was "because he was innocent".
Cross-questioned, Dt Sgt Philips agreed that gardai had urged Mr Doyle to tell the truth and told him to "do the right thing" and not keep his sick daughter's mother away from her for longer than necessary.
Closing speeches will be heard tomorrow.