The Dublin man charged with murdering rugby player Shane Geoghegan in Limerick admitted shooting him in the back of the head in a case of mistaken identity, his trial has heard.
Barry Doyle (aged 24), with addresses at Portland Row, Dublin; and Hyde Road,
Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 28-year-old Garryowen player.
Mr Geoghegan was shot dead near his home in Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, on November 9, 2008.
Tom O’Connell SC, prosecuting, opened the trial at the Central Criminal Court today.
“He admitted to the shooting of Shane Geoghegan,” he said, referring to video-taped interviews that the accused gave investigating gardaí.
“He admitted that he fired seven or eight shots,” he continued, explaining that this coincided with ballistics evidence found at the scene.
“He admitted following Shane Geoghegan into he back garden of a house in Clonmore, shooting him in the head,” he said.
Mr Doyle said he had also shot him before he fled for the garden, he added.
“He told the guards the gun jammed and that he pulled back the slide two or three times, which is confirmed by the finding of the two un-discharged casings on the street outside,” he told the jury.
“He admitted that he never met Shane Geoghegan before, that Shane Geoghegan was an innocent man,” he said. “In other words not the intended target, but a case of mistaken identity.”
Mr O’Connell explained that the deceased was on his way home to his girlfriend, Jenna Barry, shortly before 1am that Sunday morning. He had captained Garryowen that Saturday and had watched a rugby match in a friend’s house afterwards.
He said that Ms Barry last heard from her boyfriend at 12.54am by text message. She heard shots between five and 10 minutes later, looked outside and saw a person running.
The stolen Renault Espace, which the prosecution says was the getaway car, was found on fire nearby at 1.12am.
Mr O’Connell also told the jury that it would hear from State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy, who carried out the post-mortem examination on the victim.
“She will tell you that he sustained five gunshots to the head and trunk, one to the back of the head, one to the left shoulder, one to the right of the back, one to the upper arm and one to the abdomen,” he said, adding that three bullets were recovered.
“There were injuries to his brain, right lung, ribs and pelvis,” he continued. “The wound to the back of his head transacted the brain stem.”
He explained that once Mr Geoghegan had sustained this injury to his brain, he would have died rapidly.
“The injuries to the back of his head and shoulder were caused while he was facing away from his attacker,” he added. “The different trajectories across and through the body were suggestive of movement of one or both parties.”
The weapon was never discovered, he added.
“He was murdered by the killer, shooting him five times with a Glock pistol,” he said, explaining that the killer had discharged eight shots in all, intending to kill him.
“The natural and probable consequences of shooting someone in the head and other areas is death,” he said, referring to the definition of murder.
“The person, who shot Shane Geoghegan, intended to kill him,” he added.
He told the jurors that once Barry Doyle’s involvement would be proven, they would be satisfied that he was guilty of murder ‘as sure as night follows day’.
The trial before Mr Justice Paul Carney is expected to last up to four weeks.