Dundon and Killeen get life for murdering Roy Collins

Wayne Dundon.

Two Limerick criminals have been sentenced to life in prison for the revenge murder of innocent businessman Roy Collins in the city over five years ago.

Wayne Dundon (aged 36), of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect ordered the murder from prison and Nathan Killeen (aged 24) of Hyde Road, Prospect, was the getaway driver for the gunman, James Dillon.

They had both pleaded not guilty to murdering the 35-year-old father of two, who was engaged to be married. He was shot in the chest while running Coin Castle Amusements at Roxboro Road Shopping Centre on April 9, 2009.

Mr Collins’ father, Steve Collins, was believed to be the intended target of the murder, due to his involvement in a previous successful prosecution against Dundon for a threat to kill.

Following a 29-day trial at the Special Criminal Court, the three judges today found them both guilty. Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley, presiding, spent almost two hours outlining their reasons before delivering the verdict.

Steve Collins then entered the witness box to deliver an emotional victim impact statement.

“The day they murdered my son, they wounded me and I’m slowly bleeding to death,” he said.

Mr Collins said that his son was an innocent man and an upstanding, decent member of society.

“On the 9th of April, 2009, cowardly evil men, devoid of any semblance of humanity or mercy, murdered Roy in an act of cold blood,” he said. “Why? Because we as a family did our civic duty and respected the law of the land.”

“It’s 1,833 days since these people infected our lives with their hateful poison,” he said. “We are numb with grief.”

He said the family’s sense of loss and sadness was so profound that they found it difficult to express the pain that weighed heavily on their hearts.

He said his son was also a loving father to his two daughters, whose hearts were broken beyond repair.

“It’s impossible to quantify what this has done to them,” he said. “He has missed their confirmations, communions and five Christmases.”

He said he would also miss their big days in the future and that, as a grandfather, this broke his heart.

He said that his wife, Carmel, was a shadow of her former self.

“No mother should have to bury a child,” he said.

He said that their other children had their worlds torn apart by the murder of their big brother, who was the rock in their lives.

“These thugs have forced them into a life of fear. They’ve been forced to uproot and move to another country,” he said.

“We are left devastated and empty,” he said.

“All this happened to us because we did the right thing,” he explained. “We’ve paid the ultimate price for that: one child maimed, another murdered.”

“We have to live in exile in a place where we know no-one,” he added.

He thanked the public and especially the people of Limerick for their support.

“I believe that the breaking up of this gang and the new laws enacted by our Dáil are part of Roy’s legacy,” he said.

He said that, personally, he had to live with the reality that he was the target.

“It was me they came for that morning,” he said. “I’d gladly swap places.”

He recalled that, as his son had gasped for his last breath, he wanted his parents to know that he loved them.

“Maybe God will forgive them. I never will,” he said. “For murdering a boy I was so deeply proud to call my son.”

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

Steve Collins testified that he had been running The Steering Wheel pub for 22 years, while his son Roy was operating the adjoining amusement arcade for about five years.

On the day of the murder, he had travelled to work with an armed escort, as he had every day. His son Roy popped in for a chat around 11am and then left to open up the amusement arcade. It was around noon when a barman told him there was "a fellow bleeding next door."

He ran next door and saw his son crouched on his knees holding himself. He was able to say that he had been shot, but not who had shot him.

Mr Collins said he did his best to comfort his son, who told him how much he loved him and his mother.

There was forensic evidence linking Killeen to the killing. Firearms residue was detected on the clothes he was wearing when he was found hiding under insulation in an attic shortly after the murder.

Other evidence came from witness testimony, with a number of former associates of Dundon and Killeen testifying against them.

These were siblings Gareth Collins aka Keogh, Lisa Collins and April Collins; along with Dundon’s cousins, Christopher McCarthy and Anthony McCarthy. The defence had questioned their motives and credibility.

Gareth Collins testified that Dundon had offered him €20,000 to take part in the murder. However, the fact that he had tried to implicate Dundon in a different murder that he could not have committed led the court to find him incapable of belief.

Instead, the court relied on the evidence of Anthony McCarthy to convict his cousin. He testified that he and Dundon were inmates in Wheatfield prison on the day of the murder, and that Dundon told him that he had ordered the killing.

Although it was suggested by the defence that Anthony McCarthy was a "classic jailhouse snitch" with much to gain from testifying, the court found his evidence to be coherent and plausible.

It placed weight on the fact that both he and Steve Collins testified that Dundon had made a particular gesture to Steve Collins during a previous court case. This involved Dundon pointing to his wrist, and Mr Collins had taken it to mean that his time had come.

Ms Justice O’Malley, along with Judge Margaret Heneghan and Judge Ann Ryan imposed the mandatory life sentence and backdated it to when they were charged in February 2013.

It brought to an end the first trial to be heard by three female judges here.

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