I love you, dad – Steve Collins reveals dying words of shot son
Steve Collins and his family have already shown extraordinary courage and resolve in standing up to evil.
And they have paid an unimaginable price for their bravery: a business burnt down, a son shot and injured, another murdered and then forced to leave their country in a witness relocation programme.
But yesterday Steve and his wife returned to relive the nightmare when they attended the Special Criminal Court trial of Limerick men Wayne Dundon and Nathan Killeen for the murder of their son Roy.
The State's prosecuting counsel, Michael O'Higgins, brought the former pub owner through his account of what happened when a hitman shot his boy dead on Holy Thursday, April 9, 2009.
Steve had owned the Steering Wheel pub at the shopping centre at Roxboro for 22 years. Roy had opened a gaming arcade next door.
Steve was escorted by two armed detectives, as he was every morning, arriving at the pub around 7.50 am.
Sometime before 11am, Roy arrived and spent 10 or 15 minutes talking to his dad with whom he had a particularly close relationship.
Their last conversation was relatively banal: Roy was planning to buy a new kitchen for the home he was building.
Then he left to open up his arcade for the day.
Steve didn't hear the gun blast and the first he knew of the tragedy unfolding was when a man ran in to say someone was bleeding in the arcade.
He ran in to find his son crouched on his knees and it was obvious he was having difficulty breathing.
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.
"I did my best to comfort him," Steve recalled yesterday. Roy told him how much he loved him and his mother and then the paramedics arrived with the gardai. He died a short time later.
Mr Collins was before the court giving evidence in the case of Wayne Dundon (35) of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect; and Nathan Killeen (23) of Hyde Road, Prospect. They have both pleaded not guilty to the murder of 35-year-old businessman Roy Collins at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre on April 9, 2009.
Yesterday, the family also heard evidence from a convicted criminal who told a court that he was offered €20,000 to take part in the killing of Steve Collins.
Gareth Collins said that he repeatedly refused to be the getaway driver, adding that Wayne Dundon asked him by mobile phone from his prison cell.
Mr Collins, also known as Gareth Keogh, told the Special Criminal Court that he had previously shared a cell with Dundon and on one occasion he heard Dundon having a mobile phone conversation with his wife.
Dundon said that his wife said to him "don't let them get away with this. They are after ruining our family."
He took this as a reference to the Collins family.
He gave details of how, in March 2009, Nathan Killeen came to his sister's house in Limerick, where he had moved, and asked him to drive a car saying there would be "20 grand" for doing that.
But on the day Roy was killed, he told Killeen he would not be getting involved.
The witness said he was told: "It's only to drive Nathan up the road for two minutes. He will go and whack Stevie. It will be a 10-second thing. He will go in and come out."
"He (Killeen) snapped at me. He was cursing," Gareth Collins added.
The trial continues today before the three women judges of the non-jury court , presided over by Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley.