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Saturday 23 September 2017

Rugby player was blasted five times in case of 'mistaken identity'

RUGBY player Shane Geoghegan died after he was shot five times near his home by a gunman in a case of "mistaken identity", the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Murder accused Barry Doyle (26) is alleged to have killed Mr Geoghegan (28) in the shooting in Limerick in 2008, the trial has been told.

Doyle, from Portland Row in Dublin, is pleading not guilty to the murder, which happened just yards from the victim's home in the west of the city on November 9, 2008.

At the opening of the trial before Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, the jury was told Mr Geoghegan had played a rugby match for his local club Garryowen shortly before he was killed.

Rival

Outlining the alleged facts, Tom O'Connell, said it was prosecution's case that the intention of Mr Geoghegan's murderer was to kill someone else.

On November 8, the victim had played with Garryowen against rival team Shannon before going to a friend's house to watch another rugby match on television.

"When he was making his way back, which is a very short distance, to his home, he was attacked by a gunman who pumped five bullets into him," Mr O'Connell said.

The court heard the accused had been living in Limerick since June that year.

He left the city shortly after the murder and went to Turkey, returning shortly before Christmas. He was arrested on February 24, 2009, and charged with the murder.

Mr O'Connell said the prosecution would produce evidence that the accused was part of a joint enterprise.

The trial would hear that a woman who owned a blue Renault Espace had her car stolen and that it was ultimately used in the murder.

It was parked outside an apartment block not far from where Mr Geoghegan lived and remained there until some time on the day of the shooting, Mr O'Connell said.

On the evening, Mr Geoghegan's girlfriend Jenna Barry was out with a friend before returning to her home at around 11pm. She knew Mr Geoghegan was at his friend's house and expected him home shortly after.

She received a text message from him, then heard shots outside the house.

The court would hear Ms Barry went outside and saw a man in a navy hoodie running towards a car and saw him hopping in. This car looked like a navy space wagon. Several people in the estate heard shots and screaming and "saw the getaway car leaving the estate".

At around 1.12am, a taxi driver saw a Renault on fire in a field nearby. The first report of the shooting to the gardai was at 1.06am.

Garda Adrian Egan was one of the first officers to arrive at the scene and one of the first things he noticed was that the window of a house was shattered.

Forensic

He went around to the back of the house and found Mr Geoghegan lying on the step at the back door. He was dead and the garda immediately preserved the scene for a forensic examination.

The victim was identified to gardai by his aunt, Margaret Walsh. A post-mortem examination carried out by Professor Marie Cassidy found that the victim had suffered five gunshot injuries, including one to the back of his head, which would have been fatal.

He was also shot in the shoulder, back, arm and abdomen.

Three bullets were recovered from his body. Professor Cassidy found that the cause of death was from gunshot injuries.

The trial continues.

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