Pair begin trial for Collins’ murder

Two Limerick men have gone on trial charged with murdering businessman Roy Collins in the city five years ago.

Wayne Dundon, aged 35, of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect; and Nathan Killeen, aged 23, of Hyde Rd, Prospect, are charged with murdering the 35-year-old at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre, on April 9, 2009.

They were yesterday arraigned before the non-jury, Special Criminal Court and pleaded not guilty.

The three judges heard that Mr Collins was at work around noon that day when a gunman entered his arcade and discharged a single shot, hitting him in the chest. He was conscious for a time, but his life could not be saved.

Michael O’Higgins, prosecuting, said in his opening speech that Mr Dundon had directed the murder from prison; that Nathan Killeen was the getaway driver; and that another man, James Dillon, was the gunman.

He said there was evidence that, shortly beforehand, Mr Killeen was in Roxboro Road Shopping Centre, where the deceased owned his arcade and his father, Stephen Collins, owned a pub.

He said the court would hear evidence that in the aftermath of the killing, detectives spotted two youths nearby who they believed were the accused men. When the detectives called them, they took flight. A house was surrounded and Mr Killeen was found in an attic and arrested.

However, Mr O’Higgins said that the “meat of the case” was to be found in the evidence of five witnesses, including Gareth Collins, also known as Gareth Keogh.

Mr O’Higgins said Mr Keogh would give evidence that in March 2009, Mr Killeen offered him a few quid to drive a car, but he turned down the offer when Mr Killeen mention-ed “the pub up the road”.

Mr Keogh would say Mr Killeen then put him on the phone to Mr Dundon, who offered him €20,000 and drugs to drive the car. Mr Keogh again refused.

The witness would say Mr Killeen explained they were planning to “whack” Stephen Collins, that the firearm was already in position, and that they were waiting for a car.

Mr Keogh would testify that, on the morning of the murder, Mr Killeen and James Dillon arrived to his door and it was indicated that the murder was about to happen. He again said no.

Mr Keogh would say Mr Killeen complained on the phone to Mr Dundon that he wouldn’t do it and passed the phone to him, with Mr Dundon telling him it was a simple, two-minute job.

Mr O’Higgins claimed various threats were made, but that Mr Keogh stood his ground.

Mr Keogh would say the two men returned later and that Mr Killeen asked him to make a petrol bomb, but Mr Keogh declined. The witness would say that Mr Killeen then made it himself and handed it to Mr Dillon.

The witness would say he later saw detectives pursuing Mr Killeen and Mr Dillon, with the former climbing a wall. He then saw them being led away in handcuffs.

Mr O’Higgins said that if the court accepted the evidence of the witnesses, it would be satisfied that Mr Dundon was part of a joint enterprise, was the organiser, designer, and a legal participant.

He said that, along with witness evidence, there was also strong circumstantial evidence in respect of Mr Killeen.

“The seminal issue is whether the accused are involved,” he concluded.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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