Friday 20 April 2018

Murder, betrayal and lies laid bare in Dundon trial

Geoghegan's family listen to prosecution's tale of accused celebrating 'hit' before it all unravelled


The Special Criminal Court last week played host to a gripping tale of murder, threats and betrayal.

John Dundon, 30, of Hyde Road, Limerick, is on trial before a non-jury court, where he has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Shane Geoghegan, 28, at Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick, on November 9, 2008.

Shane worked with Air Atlanta in Shannon and lived in the sprawling Limerick suburb with his devoted partner, Jenna Barry.

He was the captain of Garryowen's third team and on November 8, 2008, spent the evening at a friend's house watching the first international rugby match played at the revamped Thomond Park stadium. It was a proud night in Limerick as local boy Keith Earls – making his debut for Ireland – scored the first try in a 55-0 trouncing of Canada at Thomond Park.

But unknown to Shane on that dark and damp night, the plans for a brutal gun attack had been put in place and were about to be carried out to devastating effect.

Less than 24 hours before the international match, a small group of people gathered at John Dundon's home on Hyde Road.

The non-jury court has heard that present on the night were John Dundon and partner Ciara Killeen, his brother Ger and then girlfriend April Collins, as well as Ciara's brother Nathan, and Dublin native Barry Doyle. April and Ger, who dated for 10 years and had three sons, have since broken up and Ger has been in prison for the last three years.

April confirmed she is currently in a relationship with Thomas O'Neill, 25, who was convicted of a gang rape in the Cratloe Woods, Co Clare.

She is one of three State witnesses whose lives are under threat but took to the stand last Thursday to give evidence against her former partner's brother, who was sitting directly opposite her. "No one would want to live the life I am living under garda protection 24/7," she told the court.

John McNamara, also known as 'Pitchfork', lived four doors away from Shane Geoghegan and was the intended target on the night that Geoghegan was shot dead.

April Collins said she was present when John Dundon gave a description to Barry Doyle of John McNamara. "He was explaining to Barry Doyle what he looked like, the times of his comings and goings and that the gun and the car and everything was sorted," Ms Collins said. "The gun is there. You kill him," is what Ms Collins alleges Mr Dundon told Doyle.

Mr Killeen and another man were ordered by Mr Dundon to drive the car – a Renault Espace which had been stolen beforehand by April's younger sister, Lisa Collins, and her partner, Christopher McCarthy, a first cousin of the accused man.

Prosecuting, Tom O'Connell has told the court it will also hear evidence from Lisa Collins – who was absent last week with appendicitis – that John Dundon was a frequent caller to her house, and that she heard him say to Barry Doyle on many occasions "we have to do him", which was a reference to John McNamara.

Two hours before the gun attack, April Collins was stopped by gardai while driving through the city. She told the court she could not tell the officers of the planned gun attack. "I couldn't say that. I would have been killed myself. My family would have been killed," she said.

Jenna Barry testified that on the night of her boyfriend's murder, she last heard from Shane at 12.53am when he texted her to say he was on his way home. She tried calling him and texted him when he didn't arrive home afterwards.

Moments later, she heard two loud bangs outside and went to see what happened. Jenna saw a young man with his hood up running towards a dark space wagon. He jumped in and she heard somebody screaming "drive, drive". She said she dialled 999 and texted Mr Geoghegan. "I sent Shane a text just after one o'clock saying: 'I think there's been a shooting up the road'," she said.

Unknown to her, her partner had been shot five times by Barry Doyle, who mistook him for John McNamara, and was lying dead at the back of a neighbouring house.

Doyle was armed with a Glock pistol and Shane was shot repeatedly.

The car used to escape from the scene was found on fire by a taxi driver at Rosbrien shortly afterwards.

Less than two hours later, the court heard that Barry Doyle and John Dundon arrived at the home of Christopher McCarthy and Lisa Collins. Tom O'Connell said Lisa Collins will testify that John Dundon was laughing and saying "John Mac is dead".

The following morning as Shane's aunt, Margaret Walsh, identified his body at the Mid-Western regional hospital, April Collins drove Ger Dundon from the Hilton Hotel – where they booked into before the murder – to Finnegan's pub and restaurant on the outskirts of Limerick city. They met John Dundon and Barry Doyle in the car park.

"John was very excited and saying 'Johnny Mac is dead'. He said he was going to ring Philip Collopy to slag him," April said. When Collopy informed him that another man had been killed, John Dundon started "roaring and shouting" at Barry Doyle.

"John started panicking, giving out to Barry that it was the wrong man, not Johnny Mac," she continued. "He was saying: 'You hit the wrong man'. Barry was saying: 'It is him. The way you described him, that's the man I killed'."

John Dundon then told his brother, Ger and April to "go away for a week".

Shane's family have been present throughout the trial and Kenneth Dundon – the accused man's father – has also observed proceedings.

The trial continues.

Sunday Independent

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