THE family of Shane Geoghegan, who was murdered in Limerick in 2008, broke down in tears as the jury handed down a guilty verdict to killer Barry Doyle in a case which shocked the nation.
The 28-year-old Garryowen rugby captain was shot dead near his home in a case of mistaken identity on November 9, 2008, after suffering five gunshots wounds as he walked home.
At 3.56pm this Wednesday the jury of three women and eight women returned to court room 19 in the sixth floor of the Central Criminal Court, after deliberating for five hours and 56 minutes.
There were tense moments in court just before they confirmed that they had reached their verdict after hearing weeks of evidence.
As the unanimous guilty verdict was read to the court, Doyle, who had pleaded not guilty to the murder, remained motionless and showed no expression, apart from a brief smile as the sentence was read.
The family of Shane Geoghegan, sitting in the reserved seating towards the rear of the court, began to cry after waiting 1,193 days since his murder for justice to be served.
Tom O’Connell SC, prosecuting, told the court that the Geoghegan family did not wish to make a victim impact statement as “they feel the crime speaks for itself”.
However, high ranking gardai in Limerick warned that this “is not a day for celebration or a moment of triumph”, as gardai continue to pursue their investigations into this case and in particular targeting more senior figures behind the killing.
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan imposed a life sentence on Doyle, 26, a father-of-three from Portland Row, Dublin. “There is only one sentence this court can impose and that’s life in prison,” he said.
He thanked the jury for their dedicated service and the “careful attention” they gave the case, and excluded them from jury duty for five years.
Members of An Garda Siochana shook hands with the Geoghegan family as they left the court following the second day of jury deliberations.
The family declined to comment any further on the case and left via the back entrance of the court.
Speaking outside the courts complex, Supt John Scanlan of Roxboro garda station in Limerick said while gardai were happy with the result, their investigations into the murder would be continuing due to other parties being implicated in the court proceedings.
“The Geoghegan family wish to express their gratitude to the jury for their careful consideration of the evidence given in this case and to all those involved in the garda investigation and to all the people who offered them support during this difficult time,” he said.
However, Supt Scanlan said this isn’t “a moment of triumph, this is an investigation which will continue. We are pleased with the outcome in so far as it lays down a marker to serious criminals and the methods of their operation.” he said. Reacting to the verdict, the Mayor of Limerick Cllr Jim Long said he believes justice has been done.
*See the Limerick Leader broadsheet edition for full coverage, analysis and reaction to the verdict.