herald

Monday 11 December 2017

The chilling note that led to Shane's death

A CHILLING note smuggled out of a Dublin jail eventually led to the death of Shane Geoghegan.

Mr Geoghegan was shot dead in cold blood by Barry Doyle, who mistook the popular rugby player for Johnny McNamara.

The conspiracy that led to the innocent man's death began in Wheatfield Prison with a scribbled note.

The message was smuggled out of the jail and delivered to members of the McCarthy-Dundon gang in Limerick.

The message was found hidden in a bedpost at the home of a gang member during a Garda search in October 2008.

It read: '75 Pitchfork. 75 SC blk jp pref morn.'

The Dundons' nickname for Johnny McNamara was Pitchfork as he had been stabbed with a pitchfork a number of years previously.

The first part of the message indicated a price of €75,000 for the hit and set McNamara as the intended target.

Doyle (26), of Portland Row in Dublin, tried to carry out the instructions on November 9, 2008, but mistakenly shot Mr Geoghegan, who lived four doors down from McNamara.

The second part of the note -- '75 SC blk jp pref morn' -- referred to an instruction to kill Steve Collins for €75,000. He drives a black jeep and was more vulnerable in the morning time.

Mr Collins was a target because he gave evidence in a case against McCarthy-Dundon gang leader Wayne Dundon, resulting in a six-year prison term.

Mr Collins' son Roy was killed in an early morning shooting in April 2009, six months after Shane Geoghegan's death.

Johnny McNamara lived at 6 Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle in Limerick, four doors away from Shane's house at No 2.

Mr Geoghegan lived with his girlfriend Jenna Barry, who told Doyle's murder trial how she texted Shane just before 1am on November 9, 2008.

He was at a pal's house nearby, where he had watched the Ireland against Canada rugby match.

Shane said he was on his way back but Jenna heard a series out loud bangs outside her house.

"It sounded like fireworks," she told the trial.

Shane had been shot three times but tried to escape. He hid in a neighbour's back garden.

Doyle followed him, telling investigators he found Shane hiding against a wall.

Mr Geoghegan said 'please stop' but the hitman showed no mercy, shooting him in the head from close range.

A previous trial for the murder ended when the jury failed to agree a verdict. However, a vital part of the second trial was a new witness, April Collins, the girlfriend of Ger Dundon.

She gave evidence she was in the company of Ger's brother, John Dundon, and Barry Doyle at 80 Hyde Road in Limerick.

Ms Collins said she saw John Dundon instructing Doyle to kill Johnny McNamara on the night before Shane's killing.

comurphy@herald.ie

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