Dundon brothers trial – the verdict

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IT STARTED in 2010 when a number of men were convicted of attempting to extort money from a former nightclub promoter. That lead to prison yard fights, public order brawls, criminal damage, lovers disputes and the breakdown of one of the country’s most notorious criminal gangs. As the case against two men closed last week on charges of threatening to kill four members of the one family, four Dundon brothers were incarcerated in high security prisons in Ireland with their criminal empire under very serious threat.

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A 24-year-old mother of three, April Collins, the former girlfriend of eight years of Ger Dundon, was at the centre of its downfall.
Refusing to bring her children to see their father in prison, was just one of the many parts to this break up. Ger Dundon went berserk in prison and was reprimanded but it didn’t stop there. His brothers, Wayne and John, took to April Collins at her home to influence her decision to split from their incarcerated brother and her refusal to let her children see their father.
She had by this time engaged in a new relationship with Thomas O’Neill, a convicted gang rapist and former cohort of Ger Dundon in earlier years. She is now pregnant with his child.
Subsequently, threats were made over other incidents and April Collins, together with her mother Alice, reported these to An Garda Siochana and charges were brought.
Running over a number of weeks between evidence, legal argument and adjournments for applications to be considered, the Special Criminal Court became the stage for this latest chapter in the Limerick’s criminal world to unfold.
On Friday March 16, the three judge court delivered its verdict on the charges brought against the two Dundon Brothers.
On March 13, the three judges said that they were not considering the defence application to have the case struck out. The defence said that they would not go into evidence on behalf of the accused brothers.
The court heard a number of charges and the verdicts were returned on nine counts with count eight not proceeding.

Count 1
John Dundon was alleged that on April 3, 2011 at 84 Hyde Road, he made without lawful excuse, a threat to kill or cause serious harm to April Collins.
Verdict – Guilty
Count 2
John Dundon was alleged that on April 4, 2011 at Hyde Road, he made without lawful excuse, a threat to April Collins that he would kill or cause serious harm to Alice Collins.
Verdict – Not Guilty
Count 3
Wayne Dundon was alleged on September 30, 2010 at 31 Hyde Road, he made without lawful excuse, a threat to Alice Collins that he would kill or cause serious harm to Gareth Collins.
Verdict – Guilty
Count 4
Wayne Dundon was alleged that on September 30, 2010 at 31 Hyde Road, he made without lawful excuse, a threat to Alice Collins that he would kill or cause serious harm to Jimmy Collins.
Verdict – Guilty
Count 5
Wayne Dundon was alleged that on March 25, 2011 he made a threat that he would kill or cause serious harm to April Collins.
Verdict – Not Guilty
Count 6
Wayne Dundon was alleged that on March 25 at 84 Hyde Road, he made without lawful excuse, a threat to April Collins that he would kill or cause serious harm to Gareth Collins.
Verdict – Not Guilty
Count 7
Wayne Dundon was alleged that on March 25, 2011 at 84 Hyde Road, that he made a threat to April Collins that he would kill or cause serious harm to Alice Collins.
Verdict – Not Guilty
Count 9
Wayne Dundon was alleged that on September 30, 2010 at 31 Hyde Road, he did intimidate Alice Collins, a potential witness in proceedings for an offence with the intention to obstruct the course of justice.
Verdict – Guilty
Count 10
Wayne Dundon was alleged that on September 30, 2010 at 31 Hyde Road, he did intimidate a potential witness in proceedings for an offence with the intention to obstruct the course of justice.
Verdict – Guilty

 

September 30, 2010
Following an attack on her vehicle on September 30, 2010, Alice Collins said that Wayne Dundon called to her house and said that he walked into her home in a very agitated state and said: “Our John is’nt happy and John will hunt people down if his wife goes to jail”. He said he was not happy either and he threatened Jimmy and Gareth Collins.
Alice Collins said that Wayne Dundon used the words “Well, Gareth will stand in front of me and he’ll look at my face and this will be the last face he’ll see because I’m going to kill him myself”.
Alice Collins said that this put the fear of God in her saying, “I’m still not right, I’m only living on my nerves over it”.
April Collins, who was present at the time in the house, said that she recalled Wayne Dundon saying: “At the end of the day, John doesn’t want his wife to go to prison and all he has to do is pay some fella ten grand to kill you”.
Evidence was also given that Wayne Dundon said to April Collins when Alice walked away; “You know quite well what we are capable of, so tell her don’t go down this road”.
Bianca Collins, daughter of Alice, and aged 12 at the time, said that Wayne also made a threat to Alice against her son Gareth using the words “This is going to be the last face Gareth will ever see”.

March 25, 2011
The court heard of four alleged threats made by Wayne Dundon on March 25, 2011 to April Collins at 84 Hyde Road, where he threatened her, that he threatened her that he would kill Gareth Collins and that he threatened her that he would kill or cause serious harm to Alice Collins.

April 3 & 4, 2011
Counts 1 and 2 against John Dundon relate to an incident at the 84 Hyde Road where April Collins said that she saw the accused man standing outside her door on the evening of April 3, when he said; “I want to see my nephews, you tramp. When I catch you I’m going to kill you”.
In the early hours of April 4, Ms Collins said that when she was upstairs in bed she heard sounds and looked out and saw John Dundon standing on top of a shed with another man in her garden. She described John Dundon’s statement as being; “We’re looking for a good place to bury your mother”.

The Court’s findings of fact
The three judges said that they were impressed with the evidence of April Collins relating to the matter on September 30, 2010, and that they found her description of events with the accused, Wayne Dundon, following her visit to the prison and the attack on her car, to be credible and convincing.
They added that they were impressed by the evidence of Bianca Collins also and were satisfied beyond doubt that Wayne Dundon made the threats referred to in counts 3 and 4. Further satisfaction was also agreed, beyond doubt according to the judges, as to the intimidation of Alice Collins as described in count 9.
April Collins gave evidence relating to counts 5, 6 and 7 and the judges found the evidence to be credible; however they noted a number of factors, not least that the willingness of April Collins to give Wayne Dundon her son the following day could be construed as demonstrating a lack of fear. Questions were raised as to whether they were real or if they happened at all.
The evidence of April Collins on the evening of April 3, 2011 was found to be credible and convincing and the judges were satisfied beyond doubt, that the accused, John Dundon, made the threats against her.
The judges also accepted the evidence of the 24-year-old pregnant mother as to the events in the early hours of April 4, 2011. But while the actions of John Dundon amounted to be sinister and threatening, they found that it would be unsafe to construe the words “we’re looking for a place to bury your mother,” as a direct threat to kill.
So, as April Collins returned to her county Limerick home under armed Garda escort, she and her family faced the prospect of garda protection for some time to come.
The sentencing of Wayne and John Dundon was adjourned until April 18 next and both men were remanded in continuing custody.