Thursday 21 September 2017

Shane Geoghegan’s girlfriend ‘saw gunman who killed him’

John Dundon
John Dundon
Murder victim Shane Geoghegan
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

The girlfriend of a rugby player shot dead in a case of mistaken identity heard the attack and saw the gunman who killed him, a court has heard.

John Dundon has gone on trial for the murder of Shane Geoghegan, who was shot five times near the Limerick home he shared with Jenna Barry in November 2008.

State prosecutors alleged Dundon ordered the killing of the victim's neighbour John McNamara, nicknamed Pitchfork, but that a gunman, already convicted of the murder, shot the wrong man.

Tom O'Connell, senior counsel, said the case centres on three State witnesses - April Collins, her sister Lisa and her partner Christopher McCarthy - whose lives are under threat.

"In this case the prosecution is very, very anxious to proceed," he said, as the accused, who is on hunger strike, hired a new legal team for the four week trial.

The case at the Special Criminal Court will resume on Monday to give Dundon's new legal team time to read 10,000 documents and examine CCTV footage.

Dundon, 30, from Hyde Road, Limerick, who cannot read or write, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Geoghegan near his home at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, on November 9 2008.

The wheelchair bound inmate has said he is on hunger strike for weeks.

It is understood he has only been consuming liquids for a number of weeks in dispute of the case going ahead and looked pale and thin as he sat in the court in jeans and a striped jumper.

The three judge non-jury court heard Garryowen rugby player Geoghegan had been watching an Ireland rugby international at a friend's house and texted Ms Barry shortly before 1am on Sunday, November 9, saying he would be home shortly.

Mr O'Connell said within minutes Ms Barry heard shots, looked out her window and saw a man in a navy hooded top running towards a getaway car, a stolen Renault Espace later found burnt out a mile away.

The court heard gardai on the scene by 1.06am noticed the windows of another house on the estate had been shattered and went down the side of the house where they found the victim lying on the step of the back door.

"He showed no sign of life," Mr O'Connell said.

Mr Geoghegan was shot five times, and was crouched down facing the gunman when some of the bullets were fired.

The fatal shot was to the back of his head, the court heard.

Three bullets recovered from Mr Geoghegan's body and several casings found at the scene identified the weapon as a Gloc semi-automatic pistol.

Ms Barry and several members of the Geoghegan family sat in court surrounded by gardai as the graphic details were revealed.

Outlining the case for the prosecution, Mr O'Connell said State witness April Collins, then aged 21, saw a killing being ordered by Dundon.

Ms Collins was in a relationship with the accused's brother Gerard when they met John Dundon and others on the Friday night before the shooting.

"In her presence she will say that John Dundon ordered Barry Doyle to kill John McNamara," he said.

Mr O'Connell said the couple had checked into a city centre hotel for the weekend to give Gerard Dundon an alibi and they met John Dundon and Doyle on the Sunday morning at the car park of a pub called Finnegans.

"In her presence John Dundon rang a man called Philip Collopy to say John Mc is dead," Mr O'Connell continued.

"As a result of that conversation with Philip Collopy he discovered John Mc isn't dead but that another person had been killed.

"When John Dundon discovered this information he got angry with Barry Doyle and Mr Doyle replied 'it's him, it's him, he is big'."

Mr O'Connell said evidence will also prove that the signal from a mobile phone used by Doyle was picked up by masts in the area.

Elsewhere, he alleged Lisa Collins will claim that John Dundon laughed when he said "John Mc was dead".

She admits stealing the Renault Espace weeks before the killing with her partner Christopher McCarthy, a cousin of Dundon's. The court heard she claims the theft was done out of fear and that she "felt sick" after seeing the news report of the car being used in Mr Geoghegan's murder.

Doyle has since been jailed for life for the shooting.

Dundon was due to go on trial yesterday but he dramatically sacked his legal team and later fainted and cut his head in a cell before he was due to represent himself.

An emergency consultant from Dublin's Beaumont Hospital, Peadar Gilligan, told the court that Dundon had two superficial cuts to the back of his head and that despite several tests - including a MRI scan - there was no obvious reason for his unconsciousness on arrival to the emergency department yesterday afternoon.

"My impression was possible psychogenic coma," he said.

"There was no medical cause for the coma."

The court heard Dundon's family had contacted Limerick-based solicitor John Devane to represent him, along with senior counsel Brendan Nix, after Dundon unknowingly agreed to represent himself.

Mr Nix told the court "there will be no messing around" during the trial if he took over the case.

"I won't be party to any obfuscation," he said.

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