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'I texted Shane to warn of shots'

MOMENTS after a rugby captain was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity, his girlfriend sent him a text saying she thought there had been a shooting on their road.

Garryowen rugby captain 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, Limerick, close to the house he shared with girlfriend Jenna Barry.

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.

Unlike the previous day, Shane's mother, Mary Geoghegan, did not attend the hearing yesterday.

Recalling the night of the shooting, Ms Barry said she had been out with friends while Shane was at a friend's house in Ard Bracken -- "two minutes' walk across the green".

Returning home at about 11pm, Ms Barry went there to see Shane.

He was supposed to have picked up some dvds from his mother's house, but had not and so she went to pick up the dvds herself, staying for about an hour, the court was told.

Just after 1am, she texted Shane, asking if he was coming home. He replied that he would be "home in a minute".

Shortly afterwards, Ms Barry heard a "series of loud bangs", which she put down to fireworks, since it was so soon after Halloween, the court was told.

However, the couple's two dogs were barking loudly and were "unusually tense".


Opening her front door, she saw someone running towards a dark space wagon. The car's doors were open and its wheels were screeching.

The man was tall, young, and wore jeans and a navy hoodie with its hood up. Someone was shouting: "Drive."

Ms Barry's final piece of evidence was the most poignant.

After hearing the shots, she called 999 to alert the gardai -- and then sent a text to Shane telling him that she "thought there had been a shooting down the road", the court was told.

Another witness, Marie Carew from Castletroy, Limerick, told the jury how her Renault Espace space wagon was stolen on October 18, 2008, just moments after she had pulled up outside a neighbour's house to drop in a note.

She left the keys in the ignition because she wasn't staying long but then saw her car making a U-turn and speed off up the road, the court was told.

Several witnesses told gardai how they had spotted the navy Espace parked "oddly" for several weeks outside an apartment block in Ballyconnell.

On November 8, 2008, Barbara Valtiniova saw two people in hoods attempt to start the car up.

Ms Barry clasped her knees and jiggled her legs anxiously as the bullets that had been extracted from her dead boyfriend's body were produced in court by Garda Ballistics Examiner Mark Collender.

All bullets found in the body and at the scene were 9mm bullets fired from the same Glock semi-automatic pistol, which was never recovered, the court was told.

Some live rounds were found near Ms Barry's car and the location of the bullets indicated that the shooter was moving in the direction of the house where Shane's body was found, he said.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent