Dundon sentenced to life for Shane Geoghegan killing
Victim shot in case of mistaken identity
The Special Criminal Court has found that John Dundon was responsible for the killing of rugby player Shane Geoghegan in Limerick almost five years ago.
The Special Criminal Court ruled today that evidence in the trial pointed “overwhelmingly” to his guilt in directing and organising the killing.
The Garryowen player was shot dead down in a case of mistaken identity as he walked home from watching a match in a friend’s house in Dooradoyle, Limerick on November 9th, 2008.
The 28-year-old died of gunshot wounds to his head and body shortly after 1am, just metres from the home he shared with his girlfriend, Jenna Barry.
He was the unintended victim of a shooting meant for another man, who lived near him at Clonmore, Kilteragh.
The court heard that Dundon’s carelessness in describing the real target to gunman Barry Doyle was what caused the death of an innocent person.
Dundon (30) of Hyde Road in Limerick pleaded not guilty to the murder and went on trial last month at the Special Criminal Court.
The non-jury court is reserved for organised crime and terrorist offences; the DPP had deemed the ordinary courts inadequate to deal with the case.
Dundon had gone to the High Court and Supreme Court in an attempt to defer his trial until next year. He also went on hunger strike in protest at the failure to have his trial delayed.
He collapsed twice, both times as his trial was about to get underway. On the day after he was first found unconscious in June, he arrived in court half naked and in a wheelchair.
He fainted for a second time a month later, shortly after sacking his legal team and electing to represent himself. He later changed his mind about not needing lawyers.
He was not the only person involved in the case whose illness affected proceedings. Key prosecution witness April Collins was hospitalised in early July, causing a two-week adjournment.
Her sister, Lisa Collins, gave her evidence for the State days after having surgery for appendicitis. The Collins sisters both testified that they had received threats from Dundon, who is currently serving a sentence for threatening to kill April Collins.
She is the former partner of his brother, Gerard Dundon, with whom she has three children. Both in their late 20s, the Collins sisters each gave evidence of hearing Dundon planning to kill a man called John ‘Pitchfork’ McNamara, who lived near Shane Geoghegan. April Collins said she witnessed John
Dundon ordering gunman Barry Doyle to shoot McNamara less than 48 hours before the rugby player was killed. She said he informed Doyle that he had the car and the gun ready. The mother-of-four also said that, hours after the shooting, Dundon rang rival criminal Philip Collopy to boast that John McNamara was dead.
She said that he panicked when he learned that the wrong man had been shot. She agreed with Brendan Nix SC, defending, that she had been given a suspended sentence for intimidating a witness in another case, but denied that she had the sentence suspended by doing a deal with gardai.
She said that both John and Gerard Dundon had previously beaten her and that Gerard Dundon had once trapped her in Spain for months after taking her passport.
“I dread these people,” she said at one stage. She agreed that she could have saved Mr Geoghegan’s life if she had taken two opportunities she had to report McNamara’s planned killing in the hours before the murder.