Ten-year ‘nightmare’ over after two men jailed for murder of Roy Collins
Steve Collins says he would advise others to stand up to criminals despite own experience
Steve Collins, father of murdered Limerick man Roy Collins, has said the “10-year nightmare” experienced by his family is now over following the conviction of Wayne Dundon (36) and Nathan Killeen (24) for the murder. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Speaking outside the Criminal Courts of Justice after Wayne Dundon (36) and Nathan Killeen (24) were sentenced to life for the 2009 murder, Steve Collins said justice had been served but that nobody should have to go through what his family had experienced.
“Our 10-year nightmare is over. Justice has been served today and maybe now my family can get on with their lives,” he said. “It’s been a dreadful time for us.”
Mr Collins, his wife Carmel, their sons and daughters - with their partners and children - left the State in March 2012 for an undisclosed destination as part of a Garda relocation programme.
The Collins family said they had had no option but to emigrate because they were living under the constant threat of attack by the McCarthy-Dundon gang.
Mr Collins said being forced to leave your country and go into exile was “not nice” but that he would like to think his family could now return to Limerick.
“I’d like to think that some day we can come back and try and rebuild our lives here again, because this is our home, this is where our families are and I would like to think that can happen someday.”
The episode began for the Collins family on December 19th, 2004, when Mr Collins’s adopted son, Ryan-Lee, was shot twice after refusing Dundon’s 14-year-old sister entry to the family’s pub. No one has been convicted of the shooting, but Wayne Dundon was subsequently jailed for seven years for threatening to kill the 18-year-old barman on the night of the attack.
The Collins family, who gave evidence against Dundon, had been threatened and pursued by the gang ever since. In April 2009, Roy Collins was shot dead. James Dillon, of no fixed abode, was jailed for life in 2010 for the killing.
Asked about what it was like to live in fear, Mr Collins said it was “a horrible experience and nobody should have to go through this”.
“We were innocent people just running a business, and these people came into my life, it can happen to anybody, and they just destroyed my life,” he said.
He said his business, family and everything in their lives had been destroyed. “I’m just glad it’s over and justice has been served.”
Mr Collins said there were times when he feared justice might not be done in the case, but said the “dedication” of gardaí, who never gave up on “chasing these thugs”, had been vital.
He thanked his legal team and also had a special mention for Limerick Fianna Fáil TD and former minister for defence Willie O’Dea and former minister for justice Dermot Ahern, who he said had “always stood by” him and changed laws in order to aid gang-related prosecutions.
He also paid tribute to his family, describing them as “the real brave ones”, and thanked the people of Limerick for campaigning to get justice for his son.
“This wouldn’t have happened without those people, and I’m just glad now that Limerick is going to repair itself from all of these thugs and go on from it.”
Asked whether he would advise other people to stand up to criminals given his family’s experience, Mr Collins said it was “the only thing that you can do” as you do not want to go down the same route as “these animals”.
“Sometimes you just don’t have a choice,” he said. “You have to trust the justice system. You have to trust the guards… I’d recommend to anyone to stand up because you if you don’t get out of their clutches you’ll never get out of their clutches. This is the only way to sort this out, to bring it to the courts and get justice.”