Newry hairdresser Siobhan Phillips’s night of terror before dissident gunman left her brain-damaged and an officer dead
Siobhan Phillips was just a 16-year-old schoolgirl when, as her mother Bronagh said, she met her first serious boyfriend, Adrian Crevan Mackin, who was more than four years her senior.
At 17 she gave birth to their first child together, a son, and a few years later followed their daughter.
Her father, Sean, admitted he was concerned about her relationship "from day one" due to Mackin's republican background and his allegedly being part of the Continuity IRA.
It was also said that, as a teenager, Mackin had engaged in an act of bestiality with a sheep, and had also pulled a knife on his mother.
When the PSNI raided Mackin's home in Newry they discovered extreme pornography, including bestiality.
Ultimately, the couple's two children were placed in foster care with Sean and his second wife Norma.
Siobhan became estranged from her family and fell under Mackin's control as he became increasingly violent towards her.
That violence reached a harrowing crescendo on October 9, 2015, when, from 5pm that evening until 7am the following day, he subjected Siobhan to vile attack after attack.
She detailed the graphic nature of that terrible night to Garda Tony Golden, who was later shot dead by Mackin as he brought Siobhan back to her home at Mullach Alainn in Omeath, Co Louth, to collect her clothes.
Siobhan had finally gathered the courage to leave her abuser.
At this stage she feared not only for her own life but also for the lives of her children and the rest of her family. Garda Golden supported her, telling the frightened young woman, then just 21-years-old: "You can't be intimidated by a bully."
In her statement, she told how she had been unfaithful to Mackin while he was in jail and, while they had decided to stay together for the sake of their children, he "was seeing other girls and got one girl pregnant".
Siobhan's father Sean said Mackin liked to "rub her nose in it" and made no secret of his affairs.
When she arrived back home on the evening of October 9, Mackin was using his laptop in the livingroom. He was angry after a girl texted him telling him he was a paedophile and not to text her again - he blamed Siobhan's family for this.
"He came over to my sofa and said, 'Do you like taking it in the mouth?' I curled up in a ball and he punched me," recounted Siobhan.
She said he "calmed down after getting the violence out of his system". But it wasn't for long.
He got a steak knife from the kitchen and proceeded to slash Siobhan's left wrist and her right thigh through her tracksuit bottoms.
Later, in the early hours of the morning, the assaults continued in their bedroom where he pinned her against a wall and threw her against a wardrobe, all the while thumping her in the head.
"He said 'get the f*** out. Sleep over there on the floor like a dog'.
"He kept spitting at me and calling me a tramp.
"I must have dozed off because I woke up to him kicking me in the head," she said.
The next morning Mackin ordered Siobhan to cover up her bruises with make-up and she left the house to go to her job in a hairdressing salon in Newry.
But within hours she had confided to her work friends about the assault which had taken place, and she later called her step-mother Norma that Saturday afternoon to tell her.
After showing such bravery in finally speaking up about the violence she was suffering, she, and Garda Golden, were shot by an enraged Mackin.
She survived the shooting but, as her father revealed yesterday, she has suffered a frontal lobe injury to her brain, the right side of her skull has been crushed and she also lost her right eye.
Siobhan will live with the consequences of Mackin's deadly attack for the rest of her life.