Two men get life for murder of Roy Collins

Wayne Dundon and Nathan Killeen found guilty of killing innocent businessman

Steve Collins prepares to speak to media on the murder of his son Roy, outside the Special Criminal Court in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Steve Collins prepares to speak to media on the murder of his son Roy, outside the Special Criminal Court in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 10:52

BRIAN KAVANAGH

Two Limerick criminals have been sentenced to life in prison for the revenge murder of innocent businessman Roy Collins in the city over five years ago.

Wayne Dundon (36), of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect, ordered the murder from prison and Nathan Killeen (24), of Hyde Road, Prospect, was the getaway driver for the gunman, James Dillon.

They both pleaded not guilty to murdering the 35- year- old father-of-two, who was engaged to be married. He was shot in the chest while running Coin Castle Amusements at Roxboro Road Shopping Centre on April 9th, 2009.

Mr Collins’s father, Steve Collins, was believed to be the target of the murder, due to his involvement in a previous successful prosecution against Dundon for a threat to kill.

Following a 29-day trial at the Special Criminal Court, the three judges yesterday found them both guilty.

Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley, presiding, along with Judge Margaret Heneghan and Judge Ann Ryan imposed the mandatory life sentence and backdated it to when the men were charged in February 2013.

Emotional statement

Steve Collins then entered the witness box to deliver an emotional victim impact statement. “The day they murdered my son, they wounded me and I’m slowly bleeding to death,” he said.

Mr Collins said his son was an innocent man, an upstanding, decent member of society.

He said that, personally, he had to live with the reality that he was the target.

“It was me they came for that morning,” he said. “I’d gladly swap places.”

He recalled that, as his son had gasped for his last breath, he wanted his parents to know that he loved them.

Steve Collins testified he had been running The Steering Wheel pub for 22 years, while his son Roy was operating the adjoining amusement arcade for about five years.

On the day of the murder, he had travelled to work with an armed escort, as he had every day. His son Roy popped in for a chat around 11am and then left to open up the amusement arcade. Around noon a barman told him there was “a fellow bleeding next door.”

He ran next door and saw his son crouched on his knees holding himself. He was able to say that he had been shot, but not who had shot him.

Comfort

Mr Collins said he did his best to comfort his son, who told him how much he loved him and his mother.

There was forensic evidence linking Killeen to the killing. Firearms residue was detected on the clothes he was wearing when he was found hiding under insulation in an attic shortly after the murder.

Other evidence came from witness testimony, with a number of former associates of Dundon and Killeen testifying against them.

These were siblings Gareth Collins aka Keogh, Lisa Collins and April Collins; along with Dundon’s cousins, Christopher McCarthy and Anthony McCarthy.

The defence had questioned their motives and credibility. Gareth Collins testified that Dundon had offered him €20,000 to take part in the murder.

However, the fact that he had tried to implicate Dundon in a different murder that he could not have committed led the court to not rely on his evidence.

Instead, the court relied on the evidence of Anthony McCarthy to convict his cousin.

He testified he and Dundon were inmates in Wheatfield prison on the day of the murder, and that Dundon told him he had ordered the killing.

Although it was suggested by the defence that Anthony McCarthy was a “classic jailhouse snitch”, with much to gain from testifying, the court found his evidence to be coherent and plausible.