Saturday 17 March 2018

Wayne Dundon was 'moving spirit' behind murder of Roy Collins, court hears

Wayne Dundon and (inset) Roy Collins
Wayne Dundon and (inset) Roy Collins

Limerick man Wayne Dundon was the “moving spirit” behind the operation to murder businessman Roy Collins, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Closing speeches were today heard in the non-jury trial of Wayne Dundon (36), of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect and Nathan Killeen (24) of Hyde Road, Prospect, who have pleaded not guilty to the murder of 35-year-old Roy Collins at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre on April 9, 2009.

Addressing the court, 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 has 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.

Counsel for Wayne Dundon, Mr Remy Farrell SC, told the court that there was no other evidence or independent corroboration of the “stories spun” by witnesses in the case in relation to Wayne Dundon.

In relation to what he characterised as “supergrass” witnesses Gareth Collins and Anthony McCarthy (32), Mr Farrell said that their evidence must “stand up to the strictest measure”, “stern criticism” and “searching cross examination” and “must not be found wanting at the end of the process”.

He said these were very important legal principles and criteria that describe the playing field before any accounting takes place.

Mr Farrell said the starting point for principle prosecution witness Gareth Collins was that “he is the kind of man you would expect to lie”, while in March 2011 Collins was brought before the Special Criminal Court where he was essentially deprived of his right to trial by jury.

The court heard Collins is serving a seven-and-a half years prison sentence imposed by the Special Criminal Court for demanding money with menaces and threatening to kill.

Counsel submitted Gareth Collins was “not to be trusted with trial by jury” and must have been someone with a tendency to pervert the course of public justice. 

Despite this, Mr Farrell said that within a period of less than two months gardai and the DPP seemed happy to regard Gareth Collins as a star witness, which was a “dramatic reversal of fortune”.

Counsel told the court that witness Anthony “Noddy” McCarthy (32) - who is serving a life sentence for the murder of Kieran Keane in Limerick in January 2003 – was a man “unconstrained by morality” who has “nothing to lose”.

Mr Farrell will continue his closing speech tomorrow in the trial before presiding judge Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley.

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