Key witness against John Dundon rejects claim she has lived ‘charmed’ life
‘Nobody should have to live the life I live, under Garda protection 24/7’
John Dundon: arriving at Dublin Special Criminal Court yesterday morning. He pleaded not guilty to murder. Photograph: Collins Courts
The State’s key witness in the trial of Limerick man John Dundon for the shooting dead of rugby player Shane Geoghegan has rejected suggestions she had led a “charmed life” in escaping prison despite numerous convictions.
April Collins (26), who was previously in a relationship with John Dundon’s brother Ger, accepted she had been banned from driving, had driven while banned and had a conviction for intimidating a witness in another case, for which she received a three-year suspended sentence.
Brendan Nix SC, for John Dundon,claimed at the Special Criminal Court that Ms Collins had been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for giving evidence against his client, suggesting the mother of three had led a “charmed” life.
“Nobody should have to live the life I live, under Garda protection 24/7,” she replied.
Ms Collins had already given evidence she was present when John Dundon briefed other men on the “comings and goings” of Limerick man John McNamara in November 2008.
She alleged John Dundon told the men he had sourced a gun that would be used to kill Mr McNamara and then assigned the shooting to one man and the job of driving the getaway car to another.
The State contends that the conspiracy plan went wrong when the gunman mistook Shane Geoghegan (28) for John McNamara and shot him dead.
John Dundon, of Hyde Road in Limerick city, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Geoghegan at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick, on November 9th, 2008.
She said a family liaison officer was appointed to her because of that complaint and it was through that officer, Garda James Hourihan, that she made the statements implicating John Dundon in the murder of Shane Geoghegan.
“I rang him [Garda Hourihan] and said to him that I knew stuff about murders.”
Mr Nix asked her why she did not go to gardaí immediately she heard the conversation in which she alleges John Dundon planned the attack that killed Shane Geoghegan.
“Cos I would have been killed if I opened my mouth back then, and my whole family would have been killed. I feel very sorry for his family. He’s been killed, an innocent man.”
She also confirmed she was now in a relationship with 25-year Limerick man Thomas O’Neill.
Mr Nix asked her what she thought about Mr O’Neill’s conviction for his role in a gang rape of a woman in Cratloe Woods, Co Clare, when he was a teenager. “I don’t want to talk about it,” she told him.
Mr Nix also asked her if she was aware her sister Lisa Collins had been having an affair with Ger Dundon while she, April, was still in a relationship with him. “It was spray-painted all over the walls, people were saying things. She is my sister, she wouldn’t do that.”
He put it to Ms Collins that her father and brother had appeared in articles in the Sunday World and that her father’s uncle, Joseph “Tidy” Lynch, was the quartermaster general of the Continuity IRA.
“I don’t know, I don’t bother with them,” she said of Joseph Lynch and his family.
She said while she gave her statement last year about the 2008 murder, she could not recall gardaí asking her questions.
“I just remember talking and them writing,” she said.
The trial continues.