Belfast Telegraph

Garda killer should not have been out on bail, inquest told

By Breda Heffernan

The father of a woman shot by garda killer Adrian Crevan Mackin has said the Northern Ireland man was a "monster" and he wants to know why he was out on bail at the time of the murder.

Sean Phillips, whose daughter Siobhan was leaving Mackin after he attacked her, told how he heard the fatal gunshots that killed hero Garda Tony Golden.

Mr Golden (36), a married father of three young children from Blackrock, Co Louth, had accompanied Siobhan Phillips to the house she had been sharing with Mackin in Omeath, on October 11, 2015, so she could collect some clothes.

At the time of the murder, Mackin, originally from Newry, had been charged with IRA membership and was on bail - despite him admitting to the illegal possession of weapons and bomb-making components.

Speaking at the inquest into Mr Golden's death at Dundalk Coroner's Court yesterday, Mr Phillips said he was told by the garda to wait outside the house in his car so as "not to aggravate the situation any further".

He said the house door was open and he could hear Mr Golden telling Mackin they were there so Siobhan could get clothes. Mackin appealed to Siobhan, then aged 21, saying "it's okay pet" and "I won't hurt you".

Mr Phillips said he heard his daughter say she "didn't want to hear it" before Mackin "started wailing in a high-pitch noise".

"I heard three bangs in quick succession and then three more bangs. I knew immediately they were gunshots. I thought he knew I was outside and I felt I was next to be shot," he later told gardai.

Mr Golden suffered five gunshot wounds. State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said the fatal wound was fired into his back and exited to the front of the neck. He said death would have been rapid, if not instant.

Mackin took his own life after shooting Mr Golden and Ms Phillips, who suffered a gunshot wound to the head and another to the arm. Her father told the court that she had an injury to her right frontal lobe, and had lost her right eye.

Mr Phillips said he, Siobhan and his wife Norma had travelled to Dundalk Garda Station the day before to report an assault by Mackin on Siobhan. However, he said he was told by a garda there that Siobhan needed to be medically assessed in a hospital and they were not going to take a statement at that stage.

In his evidence, Garda Anthony Quane said Ms Phillips told him she was feeling dizzy. He said the priority was for her to seek medical attention and he told her not to return to the house she shared with Mackin.

He also informed Mr Golden of the case.

They went to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry where Siobhan was treated. Medical staff alerted the PSNI who attended and told Siobhan they would put a protective notice on a number of the family's homes in case Mackin came looking for her.

After leaving the hospital they headed to Omeath Garda Station to make a statement but found it closed.

They met a patrol car on the road and flagged it down.

A garda gave them the number of Mr Golden and told them he would be in the station to take a statement the next afternoon.

Mr Phillips said when they met Mr Golden, "Tony was adamant Siobhan should follow through on her statement of complaint... Tony said you can't be intimidated by a bully".

He said Siobhan was aware Mackin had guns, however she had not told this to her family or to gardai.

"If I had thought this guy had weapons I would not have gone to that house myself," he told the inquest. "At no stage would I have taken myself to that house, or would I have taken guards to that house. Mackin was a monster. We want to know why he was out of jail."

A search of Mackin's car after the murder uncovered ammunition and a Glock pistol.

Earlier, Mackin's sister, Sinead Hynes, told the inquest that he had confided in her that he was importing component parts of guns using the Dark Net.

The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Belfast Telegraph

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