herald

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Hero garda shot in back by 'monster' in hail of bullets

Gardai at the scene of the fatal shooting
Gardai at the scene of the fatal shooting

Hero Garda Tony Golden was shot five times in a hail of bullets by depraved killer Adrian Crevan Mackin - with the fatal shot fired into his back.

The inquest into his death at Dundalk Coroner's Court heard that the fatal shot was fired into the married father-of-three's upper back and exited from the front of his neck.

State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said the wound would have been "rapidly, if not instantly, fatal".

Gda Golden, from Blackrock, Co Louth, had accompanied Mackin's girlfriend, Siobhan Phillips, to the house they shared at Mullach Alainn, Omeath, on October 11, 2015, as she was leaving him and wanted to collect some clothes.

Ms Phillips' father, Sean, told the inquest that Mackin was a "monster" and he wants to know why he was out on bail at the time of the murder.

At the time of the killing, Mackin had been charged with IRA membership and was on bail - this despite him admitting the illegal possession of weapons and bomb-making components.

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

He said the door to the house was open and he could hear Gda Golden talking to Mackin and telling him they were there so she could get some clothes.

Mackin appealed to Ms Phillips, then aged 21, saying "it's OK pet" and "I won't hurt you".

Mr Phillips said he heard his daughter reply that 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.

Garda Tony Golden
Garda Tony Golden

Frantic

Despite frantic efforts by Gda Golden's colleagues and paramedics, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mackin took his own life after shooting Gda Golden and Ms Phillips.

Ms Phillips suffered a gunshot wound to the head and another to the arm.

She was too unwell to attend the inquest and 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, Saturday, October 10, to report an assault by Mackin on Ms Phillips the previous night.

Adrian Crevan Mackin who shot Garda Tony Golden
Adrian Crevan Mackin who shot Garda Tony Golden

However, he said he was told by a garda there that Ms Phillips 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, who was in the station at the time, said Ms Phillips told him she had a pain in her head and 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, and also advised her about various protection and barring orders she could apply for in the District Court.

He also informed Gda Golden of the case.

They went to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, where Ms Phillips was treated.

Medical staff alerted the PSNI, who attended and told Ms Phillips 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 the Carlingford patrol car on the road and flagged it down.

Bully

A garda in the car told them they could not take the statement as they were covering the whole Carlingford area, but gave them the number of Gda Golden and told them he would be in the station to take a statement at 4pm the next day.

Mr Phillips said when they met Gda 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 Ms Phillips was aware Mackin had guns, but 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 following the murder uncovered ammunition in a suitcase and two carrier bags, 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.

She said he was using Ms Phillips' credit card to make the purchases on the "dark net".

She said that the first time she mentioned this to anyone was when making a statement to gardai after the murder of Gda Golden.

The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing. Coroner Ronan Maguire expressed his heartfelt sympathies to Gda Golden's wife, Nicola.

"I remember the shock at the time, the entire community was devastated," he added.

Speaking outside the court, James McGuill, solicitor for Mrs Golden, said she was delighted the inquest was over and appealed for privacy for her and her family.

He said it had been "a very difficult day for all and for Tony's colleagues as well".

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