Grin from Dundon as he is led off to begin life sentence

Killer listens to rap music on headphones while judge delivers verdict

 John Dundon is driven under escort, from the Special Criminal Court, after being sentenced to life in prison for the murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan, yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke

John Dundon is driven under escort, from the Special Criminal Court, after being sentenced to life in prison for the murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan, yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke

Wed, Aug 14, 2013, 10:34

Carl O’Brien

Five years after a murder which shook the city of Limerick and shocked the entire country, John Dundon has begun a life sentence for killing rugby player Shane Geoghegan.

The Special Criminal Court ruled yesterday that evidence in the trial pointed “overwhelmingly” to his guilt in directing and organising the shooting.

The Garryowen player was shot dead 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.

He was the unintended victim of a shooting meant for another man, who lived near him at Clonmore, Kilteragh.

The 30-year-old from Hyde Road in Limerick had pleaded not guilty to the murder .

Dundon, wearing a black Adidas tracksuit, listened to rap music on headphones, while Justice Kearns delivered the verdict on behalf of the three-judge court.

The non-jury court - reserved for organised crime and terrorist offences - found him guilty of the murder and sentenced him to life in prison.

The decision was met with silence in the packed courtroom.

Dundon did not express any emotion, apart from a thin grin as he was led out of the court room by gardaí wearing stab-proof vests.

Shane Geoghegan’s family sat quietly at the back of the court, as they have done throughout the trial.

Seán Guerin, prosecuting, said the family did not wish to make any victim impact statement, other than saying the ruling “spoke for itself”. They slipped out of the court without commenting shortly afterwards.

The case hinged on the evidence of State witness April Collins, a former girlfriend of Mr Dundon’s brother.

She gave evidence during the case detailing how Mr Dundon had ordered Dubliner Barry Doyle to kill another man, John McNamara, and the description he gave of the target.

In its ruling today, the court found that while the behaviour of Ms Collins was “reprehensible” in not doing anything to averting the killing, her evidence was truthful and had been corroborated through CCTV footage and mobile phone records.

Ms Collins is under 24-hour Garda protection, as is her sister and her partner who gave evidence.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan welcomed the result and stated that it showed the capacity of the State to deal with the most serious and difficult criminal cases.

In Limerick, former mayor John Gilligan said Shane Geoghegan should be be remembered as a decent hard-working person who was loved loved by all who met him.

“For far too long the name of Limerick was besmirched by these people and it seemed to become synonymous with the whole question of crime and violence particularly gun law.