The jury in the trial of a Dublin man charged with murdering rugby player Shane Geoghegan has heard from the mother of the defendant’s daughter.
Victoria Gunnery told the Central Criminal Court that in 2007, she and Barry Doyle had a baby who had a hole in her heart. He moved to Limerick in 2008, but they stayed in touch.
Mr Doyle (aged 24), with addresses at Portland Row, Dublin; and Hyde Road, Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Geoghegan on November 9, 2008.
The 28-year-old was shot dead in a suspected case of mistaken identity across the road from his home in Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle.
Ms Gunnery told the prosecution that the defendant texted her around 8pm on Saturday November 8 to say he was going to turn his phone off, that he had something to do.
She said that when he turned his phone back on around 1.30am, she texted him to see why he had to turn it off.
“He told me to read the teletext in the morning,” she testified.
She did this and learned that a man had been shot in Limerick.
“I called him a scumbag,” she said.
“So you read the teletext,” he replied.
She said that a few days later he went to Turkey for a couple of weeks and rang her from there.
“He asked me what were the newspapers saying about the murder in Limerick,” she said.
“I said: ‘They know it’s you because they say it’s a very close associate of Patrick Doyle’,” she said, referring to the defendant’s brother.
“He said they had no proof,” she continued.
She collected him at the airport on his return to Ireland around Christmas and he stayed with her in her sister’s home. She said they had a discussion about the incident on the way to a chipper.
“When I asked him questions, I never mentioned the name or said ‘murder’,” she explained.
“I asked him: ‘What do you think about what you did?’ He said: ‘I don’t think about it’,” she continued.
“I just said to him: ‘That was an innocent man’,” she testified. “He said: ‘If it wasn’t an innocent man, there wouldn’t be so much hype’.”
Ms Gunnery agreed with the defence that gardaí arrested her at her home on February 24, 2009 and questioned her at Ballymun and Limerick garda stations over three days. She agreed that it was distressing to be away from her child.
“I just wanted to get home to her,” she sobbed.
She agreed that she thought Mr Doyle had another girlfriend in Limerick, that her communication with him was abusive and she often called him a scumbag.
She agreed that they used to fight when she was drunk, that it would get ‘very heated’ and that he would turn off his phone.
“He’d know he’d have to listen to me,” she explained.
She said that on the night before the killing she told him she was going out. She agreed that he said he was expecting to hear from her with drink later and that he was turning off his phone.
She said she was very drunk by the time she got home and didn’t recall what they texted each other about, but knew she was accusing him of being with another girl.
She said that he told her that there had been a murder in Limerick that night, that ‘the place was mad’ and he couldn’t talk to her.
“If you don’t believe me, look at teletext in the morning,” he texted, she said.
She said that she called him a scumbag the following morning because she wasn’t satisfied and still thought he had been with another girl.
She claimed that she told all of this to the gardaí, but that they were putting pressure on her, threatening to prosecute her in court for wasting police time.
She cried in the witness box and said that she had cried in custody, telling gardaí that all she wanted to do was go back to her baby. She said it was then she recounted the story about the conversation at the chipper.
She said that Mr Doyle had never admitted his involvement in Mr Geoghegan’s death to her and that she was satisfied that he wasn’t involved.
“If I thought that, I would never have anything got to do with him,” she said. “I thought it was all false bravado.”
State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy also gave evidence today. She said that Mr Geoghegan died of gunshots to his back and trunk.
He sustained five gunshot wounds in all, including one to the back of the head and one to the back of his shoulder.
These two were potentially fatal and sustained when he was facing away from his attacker, possibly at the same time.
The bullet fired at the back of his head lodged in his eye socket, causing extensive trauma to the brain on its course, completely severing the brain stem.
Once he sustained this wound, he would have been incapable of movement and would have collapsed and died rapidly.
“This was most likely the last injury he sustained,” she said.
The bullet fired at the back of his shoulder caused trauma to the lung.
She said another shot to his right back could have been inflicted when he was facing his attacker and crouching.
She said that the different trajectories of the five gunshot wounds confirmed that one or both parties were moving.
The trial before Mr Justice Paul Carney will enter legal argument on Monday and the jury of seven men and five women will not be present for a number of days.