The late Garda Tony Golden
Garda Tony Golden died of multiple gunshot wounds and was fatally wounded when he was shot in the back, an inquest in Dundalk was told on Monday before the jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing.
Garda Golden had accompanied Siobhan Phillips to collect her belongings from the home she had shared with the gunman Adrian Crevan Mackin in Omeath, after she made a statement of complaint, in which she outlined how the County Down native had repeatedly assaulted her over a number of hours on the weekend of the killing.
The jury heard how paramedics sent to Mullach Alainn, Knocknagoran, Omeath around 6.20pm on Sunday October 11th 2015 following “a report of a stabbing or shooting”, had found three Gardai trying to resuscitate Garda Golden when they arrived at the house.
In the upstairs area, the body of Crevan Mackin was found on the landing and Siobhan Phillips was discovered critically injured in a bedroom.
Deputy State Pathologist Dr. Michael Curtis gave evidence that the father of three had died of multiple gunshot wounds.
He said he had been shot four times while facing the gunman and the fatal wound, which occurred when the father of three was shot in the back, would have been ‘rapidly or instantaneously fatal’.
In her statement which was made to Garda Golden between 4pm and 6pm on the day of the shooting and was read out in her absence as she was too unwell to attend the inquest, Ms Phillips outlined how Crevan Mackin had tried to choke her and had beaten her over a number of hours. She concluded by saying “I’m afraid of what Crevan Mackin will do to me and my family”.
Her father Sean Phillips estimated that he heard the first three of six shots being fired, within a minute of his daughter and Garda Golden entering the house a Mullach Alainn. He said he always had concerns about Siobhan’s relationship with Mackin and claimed that at no stage would he have taken her or the guard to the house, if he’d been aware Crevan Mackin had weapons.
He described him as a monster, and said his family want to know why he was on bail, after he was charged with ‘Offences Against the State’. Mr. Phillips said he was unaware the charge was membership of the I.R.A.
He said the PSNI had raided Mackin’s home about five years before the shooting as part of an investigation into acts of bestiality and had taken computers away. Crevan Mackin was subsequently charged with possession of porn including images of bestiality.
Mr. Phillips claimed that social services had become involved with Mackin at an early age. He had had been involved in bestiality with a sheep when he was 16 years old and had taken also a knife to his mother who had emigrated to Australia.
A Garda who was station orderly in Dundalk on the evening before Garda Golden’s murder, when Siobhan Phillips attended to report the assault the night before between Friday 8pm and 9am on the Saturday, told how he had declined to take a statement as she had informed him she was feeling dizzy.
The Garda said after she said she would attend hospital in Newry, he had advised Ms. Phillips not to return to her home in Omeath, and to attend Dundalk District Court to seek a domestic violence order.
During questioning by James MacGuill solicitor for Nicola Golden – Garda Golden’s widow, the witness said Ms. Phillips had not told him that a gun had been used to injure her weeks previously. The Garda also confirmed that the Garda computer system does not show if a suspect is a confidential informant.
Supt. Brian Mohan, who had formally identified Garda Golden’s body to the Deputy State Pathologist later told the hearing it was not possible to know if Crevan Mackin was acting as an informant saying “That information is not even available to me”.
The jury heard Ms. Phillips had allegedly cheated while Mackin was in custody. He had been texting other women in front of her and had told his sister Sinead Hynes that he was going to have unprotected sex with them to punish her. He had also claimed that one of them was pregnant.
Crevan Mackin also told his sister that he had accessed the ‘Dark Net’ to buy component parts for guns using Siobhan Phillips’ credit card and to get someone to hack her Facebook account so he could read her messages.
Sinead Hynes said her brother was a difficult child and never seemed to be aware of the consequences of his actions. He was subsequently diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and ADHD. She told how his behaviour got worse as a teenager when he broke into houses in the area where they lived and ‘crashed cars’.
The hearing was told he self-admitted himself to a psychiatric unit in Craigavon after a relationship ended and had improved but Ms. Hynes said that when he started living with the Simon Community her brother “fell in with the wrong crowd – republicans”. She said his views were getting very political and he had never been like that beforehand.
During questioning by Mr. MacGuill, Sean Phillips wife Norma agreed that her step daughter had withheld information about Mackin possessing firearms from the various officers she had interactions with in the month before the murder.
Mrs. Phillips replied “She withheld it from everyone”.
Siobhan Phillips’ mother Bronagh told the hearing that her daughter was 16 when the relationship began with Crevan Mackin and Siobhan became pregnant aged 17. She said Mackin had denied having a criminal record before telling her he had convictions for motoring offences.
The witness said she thought Crevan Mackin was a caring father and would never harm his children and while she’d witnessed verbal rows between the couple she had not seen any physical violence.
A member of the Garda National Technical Bureau who examined the scene gave evidence of finding Garda Golden’s garda notebook on the fourth step of the stairs in the house. He said nine bullets were accounted for there and a tenth one was recovered from Siobhan Phillips.
The hearing was also told that the gun found beside Crevan Mackin a Glock 17 9mm semi automatic pistol was capable of holding 18 rounds in total. Another Glock was recovered from Mr.Mackin’s Ford Focus.
The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing. Louth County Coroner Ronan Maguire said he remembered the shock at the time of Garda Golden’s killing saying “The entire community was devastated”.
Mr. MacGuill thanked the jurors saying the hearing had been helpful for the family that some things that were ‘misunderstood’ had been clarified. Stephen Byrne for the Chief State Solicitor’s Office on behalf of the Garda Commissioner said it was “a stark reminder that members of An Garda Siochana on duty put their lives at risk and that should not be forgotten”.