Family devastated as thugs smash hero garda tribute
Thugs who destroyed a plaque in memory of a garda killed while on duty and then dumped pieces of it outside his grieving girlfriend's house 25km away have been described as "depraved" and "sinister".
Gardai say they are disgusted by the vandalism of the granite plaque erected in Co Donegal by the heartbroken family of the late Garda Gary McLoughlin.
The 24-year-old died when he was struck by a car in Burt, Co Donegal, on December 14, 2009.
The plaque was erected at the scene of the garda's death by his family last year.
It reads simply: "For some moments in life there are no words."
Martin McDermott, who had more than 80 convictions when he killed Gda McLoughlin, was later sentenced to seven years for his manslaughter.
Gardai believe that it was smashed into pieces at some time on Monday night or early Tuesday morning by someone from the community who knew they would cause deep hurt to the garda's grieving family.
One of the pieces was then taken more than 25km to the home of Gda McLoughlin's girlfriend, Shauna Bradley, at Drumfries, outside Buncrana.
The vandals left the piece of the plaque on the bonnet of a disused car belonging to Ms Bradley's brother and also sprayed 'RIP' on the piece of the plaque, which was found by Ms Bradley's father.
Garda Superintendent Kevin English said he and all members of the gardai had ben left "sickened and disgusted" by the mindless act.
"I have no words to adequately describe what happened -- it was sick, vile and sinister in the extreme and it has caused untold hurt to the family of Gary, the community and all his colleagues.
"It is a depraved act carried out by people who have no respect for anyone and it is a direct attack on Gary, his family and An Garda Siochana," he said.
Supt English said he had been in touch with Gda McLoughlin's family, including his father Noel and mother Una.
He said they had been devastated by the incident.
Earlier this year, the garda's killer absconded from an open prison before being re-arrested in the North. He is expected to be extradited shortly.
"These people not only removed the plaque but also sprayed graffiti on it," Supt English said.
"I don't know how anyone can stoop so low. I don't know how much more this family can take. They have endured the loss of their son, a criminal trial and then the escape of Martin McDermott.
"There are no words to describe it. I have never experienced such an act."