WAYNE Dundon and Nathan Killeen have been found guilty of the murder of innocent dad-of-two Roy Collins.
The duo have been sentenced to life in prison following a two-hour summary of the evidence of the marathon murder trial.
Wayne Dundon (36) of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect, Limerick and Nathan Killeen (24) of Hyde Road, Prospect, Limerick both pleaded not guilty to the murder of the 35-year-old Roy Collins at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre in April 2009.
Judge Iseult O’Malley said in the Special Criminal Court that it was undoubtedly the case that witness Anthony McCarthy’s evidence was that Wayne Dundon ordered James Dillon to kill Roy Collins.
McCarthy’s evidence was “coherent and plausible” she said.
The judge said there was forensic evidence that proved Nathan Killeen, who drove the getaway car, had been in close contact with firearm residue on the morning of the shooting.
The State claimed that Wayne Dundon directed the murder from prison while Killeen was the getaway driver and James Dillon was the gunman.
Dillon was previously convicted of the murder after admitting his role.
The court heard a 9mm pistol was found three years later near a rugby club by men doing community service and that it matched up to a cartridge found at the murder scene
Nathan Killeen and James Dillon were arrested shortly after the murder following a chase through Limerick by gardai. Killeen was arrested at gunpoint hiding in an attic and firearms residue was later found on his tracksuit bottoms.
Convicted murderer Anthony ‘Noddy’ McCarthy (32) previously told the court his first cousin, Wayne Dundon, ordered the murder.
McCarthy wrote a handwritten letter to gardai on April 5, 2011, and made a statement to gardai on September 9, 2013.
He said “a lot of innocent people were getting killed, which really got to me, to my conscience, my mind ... the whole time”
The Collins family - who came out of a witness protection programme to attend the court today - gave an emotional Victim Impact Statement, read by Roy's father, Steve.
"It has been exactly 1,833 days since these people infected our lives with their hateful poison and destroyed everything that we held dear in life," he said.
"Every moment, of every hour of every day that has passed since that awful day we are numb with grief.
"Our sense of loss and sadness is so profound that it is impossible to find words to describe it.
"The pain that weighs so heavily on our hearts is a constant reminder of the loss that we will never get over."
"When these people killed our son our hopes and aspirations died with him," he added.
"We too have been handed a life sentence.
"When these evil men brutally ended our Roy’s life he had a happy and successful future ahead of him. He had a good business and was finishing the dream home he built himself.
"He was also a loving and wonderful father. Roy doted on his two little girls, Shannon and Charlie, whose little hearts were broken beyond repair when he was taken from them.
"They still can not understand why their daddy is not with them. As a grandparent it breaks my heart to see the effect this tragedy has had on them.
"These innocent babies should never have experienced such evil – they will go through their lives without the support of their wonderful dad."
Addressing the court last month, prosecution counsel Mr Sean Guerin SC said the two men were on trial for murder and the prosecution case was one of joint enterprise involving the two accused and a third man, James Dillon.
Mr Guerin submitted that Wayne Dundon was the person who directed the operation and was the “moving spirit” behind the entire enterprise, while Nathan Killeen was the “instrument” and “means” of his intention.
He said Killeen had a role in organising the directions of Dundon; sourcing what and who was necessary to complete Dundon’s intention while playing an important role on the day itself, while James Dillon was the man who shot Roy Collins.
Counsel said that on April 9, 2009 Roy Collins went about an ordinary day’s work, adding that one of the striking things about the case was that Mr Collins was a hard-working man who had no enemies or any cause to fear he would be shot dead as he was.
That was apart from, Mr Guerin said, the “bitter vengeful animosity” of Wayne Dundon and what he had believed had been done to him by the Collins family in 2005.
The court had previously heard that in May 2005 a trial took place in which Wayne Dundon was accused of threatening to kill the stepson of publican Steve Collins, who is Roy Collins’ father. Dundon was sentenced to 10 years for making a threat to shoot Ryan Lee in Brannigan’s pub in Limerick city.
Counsel said that Dundon’s daughter was born a few days later on May 18, 2005 and the evidence established that Dundon and prosecution witness Gareth Collins (31) shared a cell around that time.
Mr Guerin said Gareth Collins gave evidence that Dundon spoke on his mobile phone, where he was in a bad temper and was upset and crying, saying “look what they are after doing to our family”.
Counsel said this reference to family was of particular significance as a child had just been born in circumstances where the father was facing the prospect of spending all of the early years of that child’s life in custody.
He said Gareth Collins’ evidence was that in conversation with his wife Wayne Dundon said the people who had ruined his life were the family of Steve Collins, while his wife was urging him not to “let them get away with it”.
According to Gareth Collins, Wayne Dundon had said “I won’t I won’t, I promise”: in other words had promised not to let them get away with it. Mr Guerin said it was the prosecution case that this was evidence of both motive and intent.
He said the motive was “vengeance for a ten-year prison sentence” which Wayne Dundon had attributed to the family who gave evidence against him.
Mr Guerin said the motive was accompanied by a promise of intent, “made to his wife in anger and in tears” around the time of the birth of his child.
Counsel said that some significance had been attributed to evidence that this was a plan to shoot Steve Collins in the Steering Wheel pub, where in actual fact Roy Collins had been shot in Coin Castle amusements.
He said if the purpose and intention was to have vengeance for what Wayne Dundon believed had been done to him, it appeared to be “entirely immaterial” whether it was one or another member of the Collins family that would be killed.
Mr Guerin said that all of the evidence taken together painted an unusually complete account of the preparation for and commission of murder. He said whatever the concerns the court may adopt in its approach to witnesses in the case, bearing in mind they were associates of the accused, the court should have no basis in his submission to doubt the guilt of both accused.
More to follow.