Collins gave garda vital information as he lay dying

IT is believed Limerick businessman Roy Collins was able to give vital information on his assailants as he lay dying to a detective who rushed to his aid.

This information was immediately flashed to all units in the city.

It has emerged that gardaí got a major break in the hunt for Mr Collins’ killers from an armed unit escorting cash at the time of the shooting last Thursday.

The detective who spoke to Mr Collins, one of two who were escorting a security van delivering cash to the Bank of Ireland in Roxboro shopping centre, got out an immediate alert on radio.

As the security van and the unmarked Garda car pulled into the shopping centre car park they were met by people running and screaming from the scene of the shooting.

Although the gunman and his driver had sped from the scene, the detectives got out vital information on the description of the car and its occupants on the Garda radio network.

As a result, an immediate hot pursuit operation swung into action and the gunman and his driver were foiled from burning out the black Mercedes getaway car in Rosbrien less than a mile away.

Uniformed members of the force, who were in the Ballinacurra Weston area responding to radio messages, chased two men on foot into a house, where one was found in the attic and the other hiding under a bed.

Prison officers are closely monitoring members of the Dundon-McCarthy gang in Wheatfield Prison since the murder in Limerick last Thursday.

Prison sources said no cell searches for mobile phones have been carried out so far and gardaí have not yet entered the prison to conduct inquiries.

However, it is understood Garda intelligence officers are tracing mobile calls made from the prison in recent weeks.

A large group from the Dundon-McCarthy gang are locked up in the Dublin jail. This includes Wayne Dundon, who was originally sentenced to 10 years for threatening to kill barman Ryan Lee, a cousin of Roy Collins, in December 2005.

“Prison officers are watching them walking around the yard to see who they are mixing with, if anyone new is coming up to them, anyone different,” said a prison source.

This could result in a search in their cells for mobile phones, he said. The gang bosses would not have phones in their own cells and know gardaí monitor calls coming out of the prison. He said no one new had approached the gang members in recent times, nor had they received any unusual visits in the last week or so.

The Dundon-McCarthy gang has established contacts with Dublin gangs and criminals in the prison and often use them to smuggle in and use mobile phones.

Meanwhile, gardaí will have to bring two men being held in connection with the murder before Limerick District Court today, if they wish to further extend their period of detention.

The same court last Saturday extended the period of detention by 72 hours on the application of Chief Supt John Kerin.

Two men, aged 19 and 22, are being held under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007 at Henry Street and Roxboro Road Garda Stations.

As the search widens, Garda sources indicated yesterday that a number of people serving jail sentences may be interviewed as part of the huge investigation.

The murder of Roy Collins is being linked to the jailing of McCarthy-Dundon gang member, Wayne Dundon, in 2005, for threatening to kill Ryan Lee, a cousin of Roy Collins who was brought up with him in Monaleen.

Dundon was convicted of threatening to kill Ryan Lee and was jailed for 10 years, a sentence since reduced to seven years by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Stephen Collins, father of Roy, revealed after his son’s murder that they were getting ongoing threats and had received Garda protection. Stephen Collins has a number of pubs in Limerick and Roy worked at the Steering Wheel in Roxboro Shopping Centre. An amusement arcade, also owned by Mr Collins, adjoins the pub.

Roy Collins was in the amusement arcade area at around 12.05pm on Thursday when a lone gunman entered and shot him in the chest. A getaway car, a black Mercedes was waiting outside and was found partially burned out in Rosbrien.

Gardaí obtained warrants to search up to 30 houses in the Ballinacurra Weston area where the two in custody were arrested.

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