‘Free partner and I will admit killing Geoghegan’

The solicitor of the 26-year-old man on trial for Shane Geoghegan’s murder told detectives he would admit to the killing if the mother of his sick child was released from custody.

The conversation emerged on day seven of the Central Criminal Court trial of Barry Doyle, who is charged with murdering the 28-year-old rugby player on Nov 9, 2008.

The Garryowen player was shot near his home in a case of mistaken identity. Mr Doyle, a father of three from Portland Row, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the murder at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick.

Detective Sergeant Mark Philips of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation was yesterday cross-examined by Mr Doyle’s barrister, Martin O’Rourke.

Det Sgt Philips said the defendant’s solicitor had approached him and colleague Det Garda Brian Hanley in Feb 2009, shortly before the interview in which the accused admitted to the killing.

He said the solicitor, Michael O’Donnell, began by saying the meeting was off the record and no memo should be taken.

“He stated that Barry Doyle would admit to killing Shane Geoghegan if his girlfriend, Vicki Gunnery, was released,” Det Sgt Philips read from an aid memoir the detectives prepared later that night.

He said they told him that this was not possible, that they needed his client to tell the truth and that once he told the truth, they’d have no reason to detain Ms Gunnery any further.

He said Mr O’Donnell also said his client would answer only one question, that he had committed the murder.

Det Sgt Philips said he and his colleague again said that this would not be possible and that Mr Doyle would have to admit his involvement in interview. They told him they had to know he was telling the truth and not just admitting to it to get Ms Gunnery out of custody.

He said Mr O’Donnell suggested they could arrest her again.

Mr O’Donnell then had a consultation with his client in his cell before returning to the detectives. “Mr O’Donnell again stated that Barry Doyle would not admit to anything prior to his girlfriend being released,” said Det Sgt Philips.

“I said to Mr O’Donnell that would be an inducement and there was no possible way for that to happen,” he said.

The trial continues.

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