| 23.9°C Dublin

'I could have saved Shane from the hitman's bullets'





TRAGIC rugby player Shane Geoghegan's life could have been saved if April Collins had reported the planned hit earlier, she has admitted.

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.

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

The trial heard the 28-year-old was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity as he returned home to his girlfriend around 1am on November 9, 2008.

He died of gunshot wounds to his head and trunk at the scene.

Ms Collins, the ex-partner of Dundon's brother, Gerard Dundon, began giving evidence to the trial on Thursday.

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

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

Dundon, of Hyde Road in the city, 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 the night before the murder to create an alibi.



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

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

"An innocent man is dead," Ms Collins noted. "I couldn't have said anything about it or I would have been killed."

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," Ms Collins said.

She explained that Gda Hourihan was her liaison officer 'over being threatened by John Dundon and Wayne Dundon'. Gerard 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.

She agreed that she went to the High Court to seek bail.



However, she said she couldn't remember Gda Hourihan saying that she was a member of a most violent family and should be refused bail notwithstanding the fact she was pregnant.

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

Ms Collins said she could not remember telling Gerard Dundon that: 'All you have to do is make a statement of a threat to kill and you'd get someone locked up'.

Ms Collins denied Mr Nix's suggestion that she was a liar.

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