Saturday 18 January 2020

‘Mackin was a monster – why was he out of jail?’ asks family of victim

Adrian Crevan Mackin killed garda Tony Golden and wounded his partner Siobhan Phillips before turning the gun on himself

Adrian Crevan Mackin and Garda Tony Golden
Adrian Crevan Mackin and Garda Tony Golden
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

The father of a woman shot by garda killer Adrian Crevan Mackin has said he 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 viciously attacked her, told how he heard the fatal gunshots that killed hero garda Tony Golden.

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

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

Siobhan Phillips
Siobhan Phillips

Speaking at the inquest into Gda 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 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 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 gardaí.

Gda Golden suffered five gunshot wounds. State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said the fatal wound was fired into the garda’s back and exited to the front of the neck. He said death would have been rapid, “if not instant”.

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, who 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 she had an injury to her right frontal lobe, and had lost her right eye.

Garda Tony Golden was killed in October 2015 in Omeath, Co Louth
Garda Tony Golden was killed in October 2015 in Omeath, Co Louth

Mr Phillips said he, Ms Phillips and his wife Norma had travelled to Dundalk garda station the day before to report an assault by Mackin on Ms Phillips the previous night.

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, Gda 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 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 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. A garda in the car told them they couldn’t 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, however she had not told this to her family or to gardaí.

“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 he had confided in her that he was importing component parts of guns.

She said he was using Ms Phillips’s credit card to make the purchases on the dark net and was having them delivered to several addresses. She said the first time she mentioned this to anyone was when making a statement to gardaí 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.

“No words can described how difficult it must be,” he added.

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

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