Two Limerick brothers have been found guilty at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin of between them threatening to kill three members of the same family.
John Dundon, aged 29, with an address at Hyde Rd, Limerick, was found guilty of threatening to kill April Collins, 24, but not guilty of making a threat to April to kill her mother Alice Collins, 48, at Hyde Rd on Apr 3 and 4, 2011.
His brother Wayne Dundon, aged 33, of Lenihan Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, was found guilty of threatening Alice Collins that he would kill or cause serious harm to her sons, Gareth and Jimmy Collins, at Hyde Avenue, Limerick, on Sept 30, 2010.
He was also found guilty of the intimidation of potential prosecution witnesses Alice and April Collins, with the intention of obstructing the course of justice at the same address and on the same date.
Wayne Dundon was found not guilty of making a threat to kill or cause serious harm to April Collins, and of making threats to April that he would kill her brother, Gareth Collins, and mother at Hyde Rd on Mar 25, 2011.
The brothers had denied all the charges against them.
The court heard April Collins, a mother of three, was in a relationship with Gerard Dundon, a brother of the accused men, for eight years until late 2010.
There was evidence that the catalyst for the threats was an attack on the home of Alice Collins by four women, including John Dundon’s wife Ciara, on the evening of Sept 30, 2010.
Alice Collins gave evidence that she called for gardaí to come to the scene and that, as community garda Niamh Keogh walked into the house, she heard Wayne Dundon ask: “Why are the guards following her into her house?”
The court heard that sometime after 8pm, Wayne Dundon walked into Alice Collins’s sitting room in a “very agitated state” and said his brother John was not happy and would “hunt people down” if his wife Ciara went to jail.
Alice Collins said that Wayne Dundon asked her if her son Jimmy went to a certain local pub every weekend before telling her John Dundon would “give some fool 10 grand” to kill Jimmy.
She said Wayne Dundon then told her: “Well, Gareth will stand in front of me and he’ll look at my face and this will be the last face he’ll see because I’m going to kill him myself.”
As he got up to leave the house, Alice Collins said Wayne Dundon told her: “You are digging your own grave; it’s very easy to make people disappear.”
She said the threats put the “fear of god” into her, that she was “still not right” and “only living on nerves” since the incident. She added that she had altered her living habits as a result.
In her evidence to the court, April Collins said she was at home on Hyde Rd on Mar 25, 2011, when a “very angry” Wayne Dundon entered her home and threatened to kill her, her brother Gareth and her mother.
April Collins told the court that more than a week later, on the night of Apr 3, 2011, she was sitting watching television when someone began “bating” down the door.
She said she looked out her sitting room door and could see John Dundon through glass panels on the front door shouting: “I know you’re in there you tramp, I want to see my nephews, when I get you I am going to fucking kill you.”
April Collins said she retired to bed with her children later that night, but awoke again at 2am to find John Dundon standing on a shed in her backyard, while another man stood in the garden.
April Collins said that when she asked John Dundon what he was doing there, she was “terrified” to hear him reply: “We’re looking for a good place to bury your mother.”
Reading from a written judgment, presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court had been impressed by the “entirely credible and convincing” evidence of Alice Collins and was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Wayne Dundon had intimidated and made threats against her.
He said that, with regard to the three counts against Wayne Dundon of making threats to kill on Mar 25, 2011, the court found the evidence of April Collins to be credible.
However, Mr Justice Butler said that a part of her evidence could be construed as demonstrating a lack of fear of the threats “sufficient to cast a doubt” at least on an essential constituent of the offence and, at most, on whether the threats were made at all.
He said the court found that the actions of John Dundon on the evening and early morning of Apr 3 and 4, 2011, amounted to “sinister and threatening” actions on his part.
However, it would be unsafe to construe the words, “we’re looking for a place to bury your mother”, as a direct threat to kill Alice Collins, the judge said.
John Dundon smiled and shook his head while the verdicts were read out, while Wayne made little reaction.
Mr Justice Butler remanded both men in custody to appear before the court for sentencing on Apr 18.