Friday 24 November 2017

I could have saved Shane's life if I had tipped off gardai, says witness

Natasha Reid

A WOMAN has agreed that she could have saved Shane Geoghegan's life if she had taken two opportunities in the hours before he died to report a planned murder.

April Collins (26) was giving evidence to the Special Criminal Court in the trial of Limerick man John Dundon (30), who is charged with murdering the Garryowen rugby player.

Mr Geoghegan (28) was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity as he returned home to his girlfriend around 1am on November 9, 2008.

Ms Collins has testified that she heard John Dundon order a killing a night or two before the shooting and that he panicked when he heard that the wrong man had been shot.

"I couldn't say that to the guards at the time," she told the court yesterday. "I'd have been killed myself and my family would have been killed."

In cross-examination, it was put it to her that she could have saved a man's life. "That's correct," she replied. "An innocent man is dead. I couldn't have said anything about it or I would have been killed. I feel very sorry for the family."

Ms Collins was then the partner of John Dundon's brother, Ger Dundon, but the couple have since split up.

She told the three-judge, non-jury court that the actual target of the killing was a man named John McNamara.

John Dundon, of Hyde Road in Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Geoghegan at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick.

His barrister, Brendan Nix SC, began cross-examining Ms Collins yesterday.

The mother of four agreed that she had checked into a hotel in Limerick with Gerard Dundon on the night before the murder to create an alibi.

PROTECTION

She said she couldn't remember being stopped by the gardai in the city twice that night, just hours before the murder, but agreed that she could have been.

Mr Nix then put it to her that this had given her two opportunities to tell the gardai that there was going to be a killing.

He asked her how she came to make the statement that led to her giving evidence in his client's trial.

"I was telling my mother that I knew some things about murders and she rang James Hourihan," said Ms Collins. Garda Hourihan was her liaison officer "over being threatened by John Dundon and Wayne Dundon".

Ger Dundon was in jail at this stage, she confirmed.

She agreed that she had known Garda Hourihan before he became her liaison officer and safety officer.

"He had me charged before with intimidation of a witness," she said, agreeing that she did, in fact, threaten the witness.

Ms Collins agreed that she received a three-year suspended sentence for the crime, but denied that this was because she did a deal with the gardai.

Mr Nix asked her about her other convictions for driving offences and, noting that she had got off lightly, suggested she must lead a charmed life.

"I don't lead any charmed life," she replied. "No one would like to lead the life I'm living, under garda protection 24/7."

She didn't want to talk about her safety, where she lived or how she had travelled from Limerick to Dublin for the trial.

Mr Nix asked Ms Collins if she had been granted immunity from prosecution in relation to Mr Geoghegan's killing. Tom O'Connell SC, prosecuting, told the court that she had not.

Mr Nix will continue his cross-examination of the witness on Tuesday.

Irish Independent

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