Belfast Telegraph

Accused in GAA star's death has become a suicide risk, garda tells court

By Colm Kelpie

A man charged with the murder of a GAA star in a gun attack told gardai he cannot live with himself since the killing, a court heard yesterday.

Shane Rogers is accused of murdering James Hughes as he sat in a taxi in a quiet housing estate in Dundalk in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A female friend of Mr Hughes, Patricia Byrne, and taxi driver Anthony Callan were injured.

Sergeant Kieran Moore told Dundalk District Court that the 32-year-old had expressed remorse.

And the garda agreed with Mr Rogers's solicitor that the defendant had since become a suicide risk.

Sgt Moore told the court that when Mr Rogers was cautioned, he said: "I apologise to him and to his family and friends and to Trish Byrne. I am sorry for what I did. I cannot live with myself for doing this."

The gun attack happened at around 4am on Sunday, when a taxi carrying Mr Hughes (35) and Ms Byrne (21) pulled up outside the latter's house at Cluain Ard, Lis na Mara estate.

Throughout the brief hearing, Mr Rogers, of Deery Terrace, Inniskeen, Co Monaghan, stood with his hands clasped in front of his waist, with his head bowed, wearing a grey top, blue jeans and light-coloured runners.

Sgt Moore said Mr Rogers was very remorseful throughout his period in custody, after his solicitor Martin Crilly said his client had contacted gardai after the incident.

"From the first moment I met him, he was very remorseful for what happened," Sgt Moore said. "I found him truthful and explained in full what had happened."

He added: "He has been consistent and continually remorseful for what has happened."

The garda agreed with Mr Crilly that Mr Rogers was devastated, and that he had become a suicide risk.

Judge Flan Brennan remanded Mr Rogers in custody to Cloverhill until next Tuesday. He also directed that he receive medical and psychiatric attention.

Mr Crilly said his client wanted to express his remorse to Mr Hughes's family and his sorrow for what had happened.

The dead man was captain of Crossmaglen Rangers GAA club in south Armagh and won three All-Ireland club medals with the team.

Mr Hughes was well-known in both south Armagh and north Louth and had been involved in fundraising earlier in the night for Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, which claimed the life of his mother, Joan, earlier this year.

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