DPP v Wayne Dundon and Another

Judgment Date15 July 2014
Date15 July 2014
CourtSpecial Criminal Court (Ireland)

[2014] IESPC 1


O'Malley J.

Heneghan J.

Ryan J.

DPP v Dundon & Killeen




[Note that the official version of this judgment is to be found in the transcript of the trial proceedings]

JUDGMENT of the Court delivered on the 15th day of July, 2014


The late Mr. Roy Collins ran an amusements arcade or casino called the Coin Castle in Roxboro Shopping Centre in Limerick. His father Mr. Steve Collins owned the Steering Wheel public house, which adjoined the arcade.


On the 9 th April, 2009 at about noon some person entered the Coin Castle and shot Roy Collins in the chest. He did not immediately lose consciousness. His father, some members of the Gardaí and an ambulance crew came rapidly to his aid. He was able to speak, to a limited extent, but could not say who shot him.


Tragically, Roy Collins died shortly after arrival at the hospital. He was the father of two young children and was engaged to be married to Melissa Crawford, his partner.


There has been no suggestion in the course of this trial that the killing of Mr. Collins was in some lesser category of homicide than murder, still less that it was justifiable. The issue here is whether the accused before the court are guilty of complicity in murder.

The prosecution case

Neither of the two men presently before the court is said by the prosecution to have been the actual gunman. On the case as presented, Mr. Wayne Dundon - the first named accused - is alleged to have been complicit in that he, although in prison serving a sentence at the time, directed the murder. His motivation is said to have been revenge, because of the involvement of Mr. Steve Collins in the successful prosecution of Wayne Dundon for a threat to kill Ryan Lee, a member of Steve Collins's family.


Mr. Nathan Killeen - the second named accused - is alleged to have driven the vehicle that brought the gunman to the Coin Castle, and took him away after the shooting.


The evidence against the accused comes in large part from the testimony of Gareth Collins, his sisters Lisa and April Collins, Christopher McCarthy (Lisa's partner) and Anthony McCarthy (Christopher's brother). Gareth Collins's girlfriend Elaine Walsh has also given evidence for the prosecution.


Gareth Collins alleges that he had two conversations with Nathan Killeen prior to the date of the murder in the course of which he was offered the job of driving to the Steering Wheel. Having grasped that the objective was the shooting of Steve Collins, he said that he wanted nothing to do with it. He further alleges that he had a phone conversation with Wayne Dundon on one of those occasions, prior the 9 th April, 2009 in which the latter attempted to persuade him, by a mixture of inducements and threats, to participate. He says that on the morning of the 9 th Nathan Killeen and a man named James Dillon, who is not before the court but who will be mentioned in the course of this judgment, came to see him at Lisa Collins and Christopher McCarthy's house. He had a further conversation with Nathan Killeen, and another phone conversation with Wayne Dundon, but he again refused to drive the car. Nathan Killeen and James Dillon went off together, returned briefly and left again. Some time later the pair again returned to Crecora Avenue, closely pursued by Gardaí. They were arrested soon after. Roy Collins had been shot in the intervening period.


Christopher McCarthy has said that Gareth Collins was in his house, No. 7 Crecora Avenue, on the morning of the 9 th April and that Nathan Killeen and James Dillon came looking for him. He states that Nathan Killeen had a conversation with Gareth and that he saw a phone being handed to Gareth.


Lisa Collins has to some extent supported the evidence of her brother Gareth Collins in relation to the alleged phone conversation on the morning of the 9 th April. Further, she has given evidence that on that morning, at her house, Nathan Killeen told her that he was going to shoot Steve Collins.


April Collins has said that she was in the local hospital with one of her children later on during the 9 th April when Roy Collins was brought there. Her evidence is that she received a phone call from Wayne Dundon asking if Roy Collins was dead.


Anthony McCarthy has said that on the 9 th April, 2009 he was in the same prison as Wayne Dundon. He observed and heard Wayne Dundon using a mobile phone. After the conclusion of the call Wayne Dundon told him that he had ordered James Dillon to kill Roy Collins, and that Gareth Collins had refused to drive the car. Later that day Wayne Dundon told him that Roy Collins was dead, and that Steve Collins had not believed him when he had made a threatening gesture in court on the occasion of his sentencing hearing in respect of the Ryan Lee matter.


The prosecution has adduced forensic evidence in relation to the finding of certain particles in the nature of gunshot residue on the clothing of Nathan Killeen. DNA evidence has been proffered in relation to other items of clothing alleged to have been worn on the morning of the shooting. There is also some CCTV footage and other evidence relevant to the movements of Nathan Killeen.

Relationships between relevant persons

The evidence features a number of people called Collins, a number of members of the Dundon family and a number of members of the McCarthy family. To avoid confusion, in this judgment each person referred to will for the most part be given his or her full name throughout.


Gareth Collins, sometimes known as Gareth Collins Keogh, is the son of Jimmy and Alice Collins. He was born in 1982 and belongs to an extended family, some members of which live in Ballinacurra Weston in Limerick. He has said that in April 2009 he was staying with his sister Lisa Collins and her partner Christopher McCarthy in No. 7, Crecora Avenue. Christopher's sister Jennifer McCarthy lived next door in No. 5, Crecora Avenue.


At the time, numbers 1, 3, 5 and 7 Crecora Avenue formed a short terrace of houses, since demolished. No. 1 was on the corner of Crecora Avenue and Hyde Avenue. There was a gap between No. 7 and No. 9, allowing for access from the front to the back garden of No. 7. There was also a gap in the back wall between the gardens of Numbers 5 and 7.


Gareth Collins's mother and father Alice and Jimmy lived around the corner in No. 31 Hyde Avenue. Another sister, April Collins, lived with her then partner Ger or Gerard Dundon and their three children at 84 Hyde Road.


Hyde Road and Hyde Avenue are extensions of each other, with Hyde Avenue being at the southern end and intersecting with Childers Road (also known as the southern ring road).


Johnny Collins is a first cousin of Gareth, Lisa and April Collins.


Wayne Dundon is a brother of Ger, Dessie and John Dundon. The Dundons' parents emigrated to England and their children were born there, but the family returned to Limerick at some stage in 2000. They live around the Hyde Road/Avenue area and Gareth Collins has known them since his late teens.


Nathan Killeen was born in 1989. He lived in No. 80 Hyde Road. His sister Ciara Killeen is or was the partner of John Dundon. It has been said on behalf of Nathan Killeen that this couple were largely responsible for bringing him up after the death of his father.


Christopher and Anthony "Noddy" McCarthy are first cousins of the Dundons and have known them since childhood.


James Dillon is a first cousin of the Dundon and McCarthy families.

Preliminary observations about the witnesses

Each of the civilian witnesses named above has, on the face of it, significant credibility issues. Each has either been involved in serious criminal activity, or is, or has been, closely associated with persons involved in such activity. It is also apparent that until relatively recent times they were on personal terms with the accused, but fell out with them. Counsel for each of the accused has vigorously challenged their motivation and truthfulness in giving testimony against the accused. In order to assess their reliability in this case it is therefore necessary to examine their evidence in considerable detail. The question whether they should, as a matter of law, be regarded as accomplices of the accused is considered in further detail later in the judgment. It is however desirable to set out here something of the context in which these witnesses came to make statements to the Gardaí.


On the 29 th September 2010, Gareth Collins and Nathan Killeen had a fight in prison. On the following day, the 30 th, Nathan Killeen was attacked and beaten up by several prisoners.


On the evening of the 30 th September, 2010 there was an incident at No. 31 Hyde Avenue, the home of Alice and Jimmy Collins. A number of women, apparently including Nathan Killeen's sister Ciara, were present and damage was caused to Alice Collins's car. Arising out of this incident, Wayne Dundon was charged with making a threat to Alice Collins in respect of a member of her family.


The relationship between April Collins and Ger Dundon came to an end in March or early April of 2011.


John Dundon was released from prison in early April. According to one Garda witness, matters between the two families then came to a head.


On the 8 th April, April Collins made a complaint to the Gardaí that Wayne and John Dundon had threatened to kill her. She made a number of statements in relation to a variety of matters over the following weeks.


On the 10 th April, 2011 Lisa Collins was interviewed about an alleged...

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