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Timeline of a killing: Shane Geoghegan murdered in case of mistaken identity

John Dundon was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison by the Special Criminal Court today.

Shane Geoghegan
Shane Geoghegan
Image: File photo

IT WAS A murder that shocked the nation, a shooting that brought the world of gangland criminals into the realm of the wider public and put innocent bystanders in danger.

Twenty-eight-year-old Shane Geoghegan was gunned down just yards from his home in Dooradoyle, Limerick in a case of mistaken identity in the early hours of the 9 November 2009.

A man known as John ‘Pitchfork’ McNamara had been the intended target of hitman Barry Doyle, who was taking orders from known criminal John Dundon.

On the day that gardaí welcome the conviction and life imprisonment of the 30-year-old Limerick native, TheJournal.ie takes a look back at the events leading up to and following the devastating and tragic death of the popular Garryowen rugby player.

2008

16 October 2008: Sam Quilligan, Christopher McCarthy and Lisa Collins work together to steal the vehicle which is eventually used in the shooting. All three are working under the orders of John Dundon. The dark-coloured Renault Espace was taken from outside Morrison’s pub in an opportunistic theft.

The trio find a black-and-red handbag in the car, take some of the €2,000 that was in it before hiding it in a graveyard.

The car was then parked outside an apartment block in Ballycummin estate. It did not move until the night of the murder, weeks later. During the trial, a number of residents testified to noticing the car and finding it odd that it was not used, particularly because there was a notice for an event lying on the front seat and a baby seat in the rear.

7 November 2008: Ger Dundon, April Collins, John Dundon, Ciara Killeen, Nathan Killeen, Lika Casey and Barry Doyle gather at John Dundon’s house. Dunne discusses the whereabouts of John ‘Pitchfork’ McNamara, the intended target of the shooting.

He says he has “sussed him out” over the previous two days and orders Barry Doyle to shoot him, confirming he has the car and gun ready. Casey and Nathan Killeen are asked to drive.

Ger Dundon and April Collins book into the Strand Hotel for the night.

8 November 2008

8.05pm: April Collins is stopped by gardaí who say she looks like she was “done up” for a night “out on the town”.

11pm: Jenna Barry, the victim’s girlfriend, gets home to no. 2 Clonmore after spending an evening with friends. She then called over to see Shane in his friend’s house in nearby Ardbraken where they were watching a rugby international. Leaving the two men, she visited Shane’s mother to collect some DVDs.

11.30pm: April Collins is stopped by gardaí while driving in Parnell Street. She claims she could not have told gardaí what she knew then as her family would have been in danger.

9 November 2008

12.53am: On returning to her own home, Jenna Barry, sends Shane a text to see if he was coming back to watch the DVD.

12.54am: Shane texts Jenna back to say he would be home shortly.

1am: Shane Geoghegan is shot five times as he walks towards his home in Clonmore, Dooradoyle. Jenna hears two loud bangs outside and opens her front door. She sees a young man with his hood up running to her right, where a car is parked. He appears to be a young person wearing a hoody and jeans.

She then hears someone saying, “Drive, drive.”

Jenna calls emergency services before sending Shane a text to say she thought there had been a shooting up the road.

Dr Tapadziva Mondiwanza, who lives at no. 42 Glendara – which is back-to-back with number 38 Clonmore – hears two or three shots, some shouting and then about four shots in quick succession.

She went to the back bedroom of her house and saw a dark-coloured spacewagon facing towards the exit from the estate. It had its lights on and it took off at speed.

Ardbraken resident Niall Hogan heard shots and went to the front bedroom of his house from which he too saw a dark-coloured people carrier parked at the entrance to Clonmore. He noticed a man wearing a dark-coloured hoody jogging towards the vehicle.

1.06am: Garda Gerald Breen, stationed at Henry Street Garda Station, receives a call from a man who says he heard gunshots coming from the rear of a house in the Clonmore estate.

Shortly later: Garda Diarmuid Moriarty made his way to the back of 38 Clonmore and found the victim slumped against the back patio door. He was wearing a woolly hat, a jacket, tracksuit bottoms and white runners. The officer noticed a spent ammunition case at the corner of the house.

4.10am: GP Dr Rizwan Mughal receives a call to go to the scene where he found a body which exhibited no signs of life.

4.27am: Shane Geoghegan is pronounced dead at the scene.

Later: Professor Marie Cassidy attends the scene. She notes five gunshot injuries to the head and trunk. Her impression from the different trajectories of the paths of the bullets across and through the body indicated movement of one or both parties during the incident.

Also that morning: Eamon Hehir notices a vehicle on fire in a nearby field as he makes his way home along the Mill Road. It is the Renault Espace, which is later found by gardaí.

Lisa Collins is woken by a phone call and soon after John Dundon and Barry Doyle come to her house in Crecora Avenue. They tell her and McCarthy that they have killed John Mc.

6.30am: Ger Dundon gets a phonecall from his brother John to request a meeting at Finnegan’s pub, near Annacotty. He and Collins are told of the murder. “John Mc is dead, we got him,” Dundon tells them, before picking up the phone to “slag” Philip Collopy.

John Dundon begins to panic as he realises there could have been a case of mistaken identity. He gets angry at Doyle.

Later that morning: Philip and Ciarán Collopy arrive at the scene of the shooting and hand gardaí a mobile phone and SIM card. Both are put in evidence bags and given to the exhibits officer.

12 November 2008: Thousands of mourners attend the funeral mass of Shane Geoghegan.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

14 November 2008: Gardaí carry out about 20 raids in Limerick, Cork and Dublin as part of the murder probe.

18 November 2008: Lisa Collins and Christopher McCarthy watch RTÉ’s CrimeCall appeal and are moved by the reconstruction of the murder. They both recognise the car that they stole earlier in the year.

2009

February 2009: Christopher McCarthy is questioned by gardaí but makes no comment on the advice of his solicitor and because he feared for his life.

28 February 2009: Barry Doyle, 23, from Dublin is arrested and charged with the murder at a Limerick court.

2010

July 2010: Landscape gardener Pat Flannery is working in the Old Mungret cemetery when he finds the handbag of the owner of the Renault Espace. He passed the bag to Fr Jim Meagher who returned it to the owner, Marie Carew.

2011

8 April 2011: April Collins tells gardaí about threats from John and Wayne Dundon, indicating that she knows “some stuff about murders”.

20 April 2011: April Collins makes a “cautioned statement” to gardaí about the murder and what she knows.

23 November 2011: Gardaí attend Cloverhill Prison where a warrant to arrest John Dundon in relation to the murder was put into effect.

2012

15 February 2012: Barry Doyle is convicted of the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Despite confessing during a garda interview, he pleaded ‘not guilty’ during the trial.

17 August 2012: Dundon is charged with the murder of Shane Geoghegan.

2013

15 May 2013: Dundon tries to delay his trial with his lawyers arguing to the volume of disclosure delivered by the defence.

3 June 2013: Dundon is hospitalised the night before he is due to go on trial. He says he has been on hunger strike for a week. (Read more here)

4 June 2013: The accused appears in court wearing only a pair of boxer shorts, claiming he did not have time to get his own clothes after being discharged. He refused to wear prison attire.

2 July 2013: John Dundon pleads “not guilty” to the murder of Shane Geoghegan at his arraignment at the Special Criminal Court. He was found later that day in his cell with head injuries sustained in an apparent fall. It appeared he was unconscious and he was brought to hospital for medical checks.

3 July 2013: The case was adjourned for a week and the court heard evidence from a doctor who had found two small wounds at the back of Dundon’s head when he examined him the day before. He said that when he arrived, the patient was not opening his eyes to commands or stimuli and there was no movement of the limbs. However, when he lifted Dundon’s hands above his head, they dropped in an “unusual manner” for someone who might have been unconscious.

His sugar levels were normal, his pulse rate was normal, his respiratory rate was normal, his cardiovascular examination was unremarkable and his reflexes were normal.

Dr Peadar Gilligan stated he was unable to assess coordination and power as the patient was not co-operating with the assessment. His impression was one of psychogenic coma, meaning that no medical cause for any coma had been found. The CT scan of the brain was also normal, as was an ECG. It was concluded that it was safe to discharge the accused back to the care of Portlaoise Prison and that there was no reason legal proceedings could not continue.

He was re-arraigned and the case commenced.

8 July 2013: Trial hears that the main prosecution witness, April Collins, is in hospital with a “significant medical problem”. She makes a good recovery.

23 July 2013: The trial resumes. Evidence is heard from a number of key witnesses, mainly April and Lisa Collins and Christopher McCarthy. Despite their statuses as ‘accomplices’, the court finds their testimonies to be credible, truthful and accurate as they are corroborated by other evidence, including CCTV footage and mobile phone data.

13 August 2013: John Dundon is found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Why was Dundon allowed wear headphones during today’s judgement?

Commissioner welcomes Dundon trial result after ‘painstaking’ investigation

Dundon sat listening to headphones as he was convicted of murder

John Dundon found guilty of the murder of Shane Geoghegan

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