Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Garda killer disowned by family is secretly cremated

The Newry man who shot dead a Garda and critically wounded his partner before killing himself, was cremated in a low key service attended by just a handful of mourners on Friday.

Adrian Mackin’s 21 year old partner, mother of two Siobhan Phillips, continues to fight for her life in a Dublin hospital after the horrific attack at their home in Mullach Alainn, Omeath last Sunday.

The body of 25 year old Mackin, who was originally from Hilltown, had lain unclaimed in the morgue of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda last week, shunned by his family and community following the horrific gun attack which left Garda Tony Golden dead and his own Jonesborough-born girlfriend in a critical condition.  Mackin, who it has emerged had a violent history tracing back to his youth, then turned his Glock handgun on himself.

Siobhan’s father Sean, who – on the advice of Garda Golden –  remained outside the house during the attack, has maintained a constant vigil at his daughter’s bedside in Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital.

Such was the revulsion felt at the murder-suicide horror which sent shockwaves throughout the entire country, that several Newry undertakers had refused to become involved in the killer’s funeral arrangements.  After one local undertaker finally agreed to carry out his funeral, Mackin’s body was discreetly driven to Roselawn Cemetery in Belfast for a no-fuss funeral service and cremation at 10.30am on Friday. His estranged parents, who have also been victims of his temper in the past, emigrated to Australia ten years ago and did not return home to bury their son.

As the background to the incident was unravelled last week, a picture emerged of an extremely violent individual who had been disowned by his family because of his spiralling brutality.

Mackin was well-known to police on both sides of the border and was on bail after being charged with membership of the IRA earlier this year when the horrific murder took place. In July 2012, he appeared in court in Newry charged with possessing sickening pornographic photographs involving animals. He was also jailed for attempted murder when he was just a teen after brutally beating another boy.

According to investigators, Mackin had a stash of ammunition, and a second Glock handgun hidden in his Omeath home and had been ordering deactivated weapons online from the US.

Siobhan Phillips family also revealed that the 21 year old woman lived in fear of Mackin who she met when she was just 15 and that she concealed much of the abuse she suffered at his hands in order to protect her family.  On the Friday before the fatal gun attack, Siobhan endured a prolonged overnight attack by Mackin where he threatened to kill her and her entire family.

After finally admitting to her family on Saturday that she was terrified of her violent partner, her father accompanied Siobhan to Omeath Garda station on Sunday 12th October where she made a formal complaint about Mackin to Garda Tony Golden.

When Garda Golden accompanied the woman to her home in Mullach Alainn to retrieve her belongings, Mackin’s car was parked outside it and the concerned Garda officer advised her father to remain outside the property.

Mackin lay in wait however and, after words were exchanged, Garda Golden and Siobhan Phillips were gunned down in a hail of bullets before Mackin turned the gun on himself. Sean Phillips has paid tribute to the actions of the courageous Garda officer who he said saved his daughter’s life and spared his.  In a statement released by Mr Phillips last Wednesday, he expressed his condolences to the family and colleagues of the Garda Golden..

“Garda Golden, in the service and protection of others, laid down his life for my daughter Siobhan, myself and my family,” he said.

“There are no words to express our gratitude for his bravery, we are forever in his debt.

“Our beautiful daughter Siobhan, a loving mother, sister and friend, is fighting for her life.

“For now, we pray for Siobhan’s recovery and for the family of Garda Golden as they face their immeasurable grief.

“We ask for privacy for our family and Siobhan’s small children at this time.”

In stark contrast to the killer’s low-key funeral, thousands of mourners from across Ireland thronged the streets of Blackrock in Dundalk to pay their respects to Garda Tony Golden on Thursday.

The state funeral witnessed a massive display of solidarity with up to 4,000 serving and retired Gardai attended the funeral, including an estimated 2,000 in uniform.

PSNI chief constable George Hamilton and Justice minister David Ford joined President Michael D. Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, Dublin’s Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and several other government ministers and party and church leaders to remember the 36 year old father-of-three, who was described as “a happy man”, who was proud to serve his community.

Leading the mourners was Garda Golden’s heartbroken widow Nicola and their three young children, along with his grieving parents Breege and David.

The huge turnout for the state funeral led to screens being erected in the church grounds and the village of Blackrock to accommodate the overspill from the 300 capacity church.

Businesses shut down along the funeral route and roads around the village were sealed off for several hours as the funeral cortege wound its way through the streets of Blackrock to St. Oliver Plunkett Church where scores of Garda officers formed a guard of honour for their stricken colleague as his coffin arrived.

Parish Priest, Father Padraig Keenan, told the congregation that Garda Golden’s family and colleagues were “immensely proud of Garda Tony and his selfless nature” and described him as “a much-loved role model in our community.”

Mr Golden’s brother Patrick recalled the pair as children growing up together among their other siblings, Kenneth, David, Sean and Mary.  In a moving tribute to his brother, Patrick said he had “looked up to Tony in every way” and that his older brother had made him feel “secure and protected.” He added that it was his brother’s protective nature which led to his bravery as he “lost his life in an attempt to protect two others.”

As he bid his final farewell to a “brother, husband, father, son and hero,” the congregation inside the church along with the thousands lining the streets outside broke into sustained applause.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said the hero Mr Golden had become in death “should not wipe from our memories of the man he was in life.”

She described as “achingly sad” the fact that the hopes and dreams of Garda Golden’s family could never be realised “Just as it is achingly sad to realise that Tony’s three beautiful children will need help to remember the best of what has been taken away from them.”