THE man accused of murdering Shane Geoghegan admitted killing the rugby player during interviews while in garda custody, the jury at the Central Criminal Court has heard as the trial got underway in Dublin this Wednesday.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Tom O’Connell SC, told the jury of seven men and five women, that during one of 23 interviews at 7.42pm on February 26, 2009, Barry Doyle admitted following Shane Geoghegan into the back garden of a house in Clonmore and shooting him in the back of the head.
The Garryowen rugby captain sustained five gunshot wounds to the head and torso after he was shot by a gunman armed with a Glock semi-automatic pistol.
When he was arraigned at the beginning of the trial, the 25-year-old defendant, who has addresses at Portland Row, Dublin 1, and Hyde Road, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick, pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Geoghegan on November 9, 2008.
It is the prosecution case that Mr Doyle admitted shooting Mr Geoghegan; he admitted that the gun he used jammed; he admitted firing “seven or eight shots”; he admitted being a passenger in the getaway vehicle and he admitted burning his clothes after committing the crime.
Mr O’Connell, SC, said the admissions the defendant made were recorded on camera at Bruff Garda Station, noted by gardai and signed by Mr Doyle.
“He admitted that he had never met Shane Geoghegan and that he was, as he described him in one of the interviews, ‘an innocent man’. In other words that he was not the intended target and it was a case of mistaken identity.”
The counsel for the prosecution told the jury that in the minutes leading up to the murder, Jenna Barry, Shane Geoghegan’s girlfriend, whom he lived with at number 2 Clonmore, received the last message she would receive from her boyfriend at 12.54am on November 9. He had spent the evening with a friend watching the Ireland v Canada international rugby match on television.
“Shortly after getting that text, five of ten minutes later, she heard shots,” Mr O’Connell, SC, said. “She looked out the window and saw a person wearing a navy hoodie running towards a navy space wagon.”
Mr O’Connell told the jury that they will hear evidence from other residents who will recall hearing shots, hearing screams and seeing the getaway car flee the estate.
Originally from Dublin, Barry Doyle had been living in Limerick since August 2008 and left the city shortly after the murder, returning before Christmas that same year. He was arrested on the morning of February 24, 2009, at 106 Hyde Road, when gardai searched the house under warrant.
Mr Justice Paul Carney is presiding over the trial which is expected to last for four weeks.
For full coverage read the Limerick Leader, weekend edition.