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Church silent over mystery of garda killer's ashes stolen from grave

By Nevin Farrell

The Catholic Church has remained silent after shocking reports that a killer's remains were removed from a rural graveyard.

It was reported yesterday that garda killer Adrian Crevan Mackin's cremated ashes were stolen in a ghoulish raid.

Mackin was secretly cremated in Belfast last October in front of a handful of mourners after one undertaker from his home city of Newry finally agreed to handle his remains.

Garda Tony Golden was shot by the 25-year-old last year in Omeath, Co Louth, as he escorted Mackin's partner to her home. She had made a complaint of domestic abuse against Mackin. The killer then turned his gun on himself.

The 'body-snatcher' controversy erupted following a report and photographs in the Sunday World, in which it was claimed the remains were exhumed under cover of darkness and taken away.

Mackin, who had been disowned by family members, was cremated in Roselawn crematorium last year and his ashes remained unclaimed for months.

But it is believed they were buried in a casket at a family plot in Drumgath, reportedly without the family's permission.

Despite Mackin's violent past, the exhumation has caused dismay. A source told the Sunday World: "It may shock people but we could not stomach the idea that his remains had been secretly interred in the family plot without their knowledge or permission. People will no doubt think it was a desecration to open the grave and take him out but it was a bigger desecration to leave him there.

"It was agreed to dig up the remains of a killer and dispose of the ashes in a place less worthy."

The whereabouts of Mackin's remains are unknown. It is also unclear if the removal of the remains is a matter for the police. The PSNI was unavailable for comment last night.

Yesterday, Fr Tom McAteer said he could not comment on the shock news which has stunned parishioners at St Patrick's Church at Drumgath near Newry. When asked by the Belfast Telegraph yesterday if he could confirm the incident, he said: "I know nothing about it."

He added: "I am sorry, I cannot help you."

When asked if he would appeal for the remains to be brought back, he responded: "I know nothing at all about it so I wouldn't comment."

He said he was unaware if the church authorities are making any comment on it.

The Belfast Telegraph left messages for another priest in the parish, Fr Charlie Byrne, but there was no immediate response. And the Catholic Church press office was also asked for a comment but did not respond last night.

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