Belfast Telegraph

Boss of Republic's most notorious crime gang gets life for murder

Rugby player mercilessly gunned down in case of mistaken identity

By Barry Duggan and Natasha Reid

The Republic's most notorious crime gang tried to keep their boss out of jail for the murder of an innocent rugby player by offering the man he meant to kill €100,000 (£85,000) to give evidence on his behalf.

However, John Dundon was yesterday sentenced to life in prison at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin for murdering Garryowen rugby player Shane Geoghegan in a case of mistaken identity almost five years ago.

Dundon (30), of Hyde Road in Limerick, was returned to Portlaoise maximum-security prison, where he had been in custody, to serve his mandatory life sentence.

The crime boss, who wore headphones and listened to music so he would not have to hear the verdict, was placed under suicide watch last night, as is the protocol with all prisoners given lengthy sentences.

It has been learned that the vicious McCarthy-Dundon gang took a high-risk gamble in the past fortnight to try to get criminal John McNamara to take the stand in the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

A close associate of John Dundon travelled to Limerick from England last month to orchestrate the nefarious deal.

It is understood that the Dundon gang was willing to pay McNamara up to €100,000 to get him to give evidence.

McNamara was asked to testify he was in fear of the Collins and McCarthy families, with whom he had been feuding, but not of the Dundons. McNamara refused to give any evidence. The two men have been bitter rival criminals for more than a decade.

McNamara was the intended target on the night that Mr Geoghegan was murdered as he walked home from a friend's house in Limerick.

Mr Geoghegan was gunned down as he walked home from watching a match in a friend's house in Dooradoyle, Limerick, on November 9, 2008.

The 28-year-old died of gunshot wounds to his head and body shortly after 1am, just metres from the home that he had shared with his girlfriend, Jenna Barry.

The court had heard that Dundon's carelessness in describing the real target to gunman Barry Doyle was what caused the death of an innocent person.

Prosecutor Tom O'Connell said Mr Geoghegan's family, who were in court throughout the trial, did not wish to give a victim impact statement. The family left the Criminal Courts of Justice without making any comment.

Dundon now joins Dubliner Barry Doyle in serving a life sentence for the murder.

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