Father of murdered Roy Collins hopes family can return to Limerick some day
It was the final hurdle on their long road to justice. The father and brother of murdered businessman Roy Collins had to listen to the distressing evidence of the last moments of his life just one more time.
For his grieving mother Carmel, the prospect of re-living the horrific murder yet again was just too much to bear and she was unable to attend the inquest into his death.
The Collins family – who bravely faced up to the criminal thugs responsible for their son’s murder – were forced to leave their Limerick home in 2012 as part of a Garda relocation programme. Now they begin the task of rebuilding their lives.
Speaking outside Limerick Coroner’s Court yesterday, Roy’s father Steve said he feels the family will be safe in Limerick again – one day.
He said the end of the court proceedings had given them some closure, but life had been “difficult” for the family since the murder conviction of Wayne Dundon (36) and Nathan Killeen (24) in July. James Dillon, of no fixed abode, was also jailed for life in 2010 for the killing of Roy, who was shot dead in April, 2009.
“It’s been difficult on the whole family, but really difficult on my wife,” said Mr Collins.
“She didn’t take it too good afterwards. She held it together right up to the trial, but it did become too much for her and she hasn’t been well since.”
Mr Collins, who stood up to the deadly McCarthy-Dundon gang, has encouraged others to do the same.
“I think it’s been proved by what we did that you can get results.
“I’m just hoping that people will look at this and see that justice can be done and it just means giving a bit of information, a small bit of information can help a long way. It’s a new culture now and it’s not like it was before. You’re not a rat,” he said.
For now, he said moving back to Limerick permanently was something that was “out of my hands”.
“That’s up to the gardai and up to the security people and I’m looking forward to some day when they can tell me that we can come back and rebuild our lives. I’d love to come back to Limerick but, again, it’s something I have to be guided on by the people who know best.”
Mr Collins said he will feel safe in Limerick again.
“I think you only have to look at the city now to see that it’s a different city to what it was when all of this was going on.
“I’m just going by Limerick people and what they’re saying and the city is starting to get the reputation it deserves and not the one it was tarnished with and I’m delighted about that,” he added.
Mr Collins’s deposition, which was read out at the inquest, detailed his last conversation with his son and how he saw him crouched on the ground of his business, a casino in Roxboro Shopping Centre, with a bullet wound to his back.
Less than an hour before they had chatted happily and Mr Collins described his son as being in “great form”.
He had talked about a planned trip to the MFI store in Dublin where he and fiancee Melissa Crawford were going to buy a kitchen for the home they were finishing at Lakeview, Killaloe.
The next time he saw his son was crouching on the floor of his casino, unable to breath, with a gunshot wound.
“He told me he loved me and he loved his mum,” Mr Collins said, describing how he cradled his son in his arms.
Roy was pronounced dead at the Midlands Regional Hospital less than an hour later, after staff fought desperately to save his life, doing compressions on his chest for 15 minutes.