FRIENDS and well-wishers have donated more than £7,000 to help pay for the funeral of murdered tattoo artist Aidan Mann.
The fundraiser was sent up by a pal after the 28-year-old was stabbed to death on Church Street in Downpatrick on Monday.
Barry Donnelly (36) has been charged with Mr Mann’s murder and appeared in court on Wednesday.
Donnelly, also of Church Street in the town, faces a second charge of possession of kitchen knives and did not apply for bail at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court. He was remanded into custody until January 27.
So far the JustGiving fund has attracted £7,064 in donations from both those who knew Mr Mann and those who never met him.
Mr Mann will be buried in Clandeboye cemetery in Bangor on Monday following a funeral service at S Clarke and Sons funeral home in the town at 10.30am.
His brother has requested that men attending wear black ties rather than red as he wants his sibling to be the only one wearing a red tie.
Posting details of her son’s funeral on Facebook his mother, Sonja Mann, urged those affected by his killing to “celebrate Aidan’s life in your own wee way”.
Mr Mann, also known by friends and those in the tattoo business as ‘Zen Black’, was originally from Bangor but had moved to Downpatrick late last year.
He had been working in the Sailor and Scoundrels Tattoo Parlour in Newtownards at the time of his murder.
One tribute to Mr Mann will be held on Sunday by the Underground Diffing (UGD) group at Nutt’s Corner in Co Antrim.
Describing Mr Mann as a “keen car enthusiast,” the UGD group said in a Facebook post: “His close friends and family have asked us if we would hold a memorial meet at our yard in Nutt’s Corner for this Sunday coming, January 9, starting at 2pm till 9.30pm.
“We gladly will hold a memorial meet for Aidan as he was a keen fan of the Nutts Corner yard and a keen follower of our meets around the country.
"Aidan will be sadly missed by all who knew his presence and his cheeky wit and jokes.”
Mr Mann’s killing has led to one member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board calling for tougher knife crime sentences.
SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said his shocking broad daylight murder had brought the issue of knife crime “back into focus”.
“We have seen in other parts of these islands how quickly knife crime can become a scourge and it’s something we can’t allow to become a regular occurrence in our towns and cities,” Mrs Kelly said.
“With that in mind, I have contacted Justice Minister Naomi Long in the wake of this week’s murder to express my concerns and to establish what plans she has, if any, to begin to tackle this issue and lower the number of knife crimes.” She added: “I think if we are truly going to get to grips with this issue then we need to look at introducing tougher sentences to send a message that knife crime simply won’t be tolerated. We must use every tool at our disposal to prevent incidents like this in future”.