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Killer of Garda Tony Golden was under suspended sentence for carrying a live firearm

Adrian Mackin was convicted of carrying a loaded gun in Newry in 2012.

mackin2 Adrian Mackin

THE KILLER OF Garda Tony Golden was under suspended sentence for a firearms charge in Northern Ireland at the time his death.

A RTÉ Prime Time investigation into the life of Adrian Crevan Mackin, the 24-year-old who shot his girlfriend, killed Garda Golden and then turned the gun on himself on 11 October in Omeath Co Louth, has revealed a deeply volatile character with an almost constant presence in the courts on both sides of the border during his short life.

The programme reveals that aged 20 Mackin was convicted of possession of a loaded, unlicensed Walther p38 handgun in Newry. He was convicted of having a loaded gun with live ammunition and given a three year sentence.

However the sentence was suspended in full. Immediately following this decision Mackin moved the short distance across the border to Omeath.

The upshot of this is that at the time of Garda Golden’s death Mackin was both on bail from the Special Criminal Court on charges of membership of the IRA and under suspended sentence for possessing a live firearm.

Garda Anthony Golden Garda Tony Golden Source: Garda Press Office

Questions may now be asked about the extent of cross-border co-operation between the PSNI and gardaí with regard to dissident Republican activity, particularly given Garda Golden approached Mackin’s house both unarmed and with no backup.

Bit part player

Mackin was not a formidable terrorist, rather he was a bit part player with a significant violent streak according to the programme.

Born in Rostrevor Co Down,  he went to school in nearby Warrenpoint. According to Prime Time his violent streak was on display from a very young age when he attacked his mother twice while he was still at school

His parents subsequently moved to Australia and left him behind where he became engaged by social services. The records of any offences he may have committed while still a juvenile remain sealed given his age at the time.

Mackin’s first known charge was for burglary in his home town of Rostrevor in April 2007.

In November 2008 he was charged with criminal damage, again in Rostrevor. Following this incident he was placed on a Probation Supervisory Order which lasted 18 months.

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Three years later his partner, Siobhan Phillips, the woman he would eventually shoot two weeks ago, complained to Northern Ireland’s social services about Mackin’s treatment of her.

Those social services made an appointment to see Mackin but were reportedly so terrified by him that they complained to the police, who then seized his computer.

The evidence contained on that computer, that of extreme pornographic images involving human bestiality, led to a conviction in court in Newry in December 2012 which saw Mackin sentenced to four months in jail which was suspended for one year.

Following his charge at the Special Criminal Court in January of this year for IRA membership Mackin was released on bail after spending just five days on remand in Portlaoise prison.

It seems that while in Portlaoise Mackin tried to inveigle himself with Republican prisoners in the E wing of the prison, but was rejected by the Republican Network for Unity (RNU) as being a suspected British spy.

Following Mackin’s death it seems his remains were left unclaimed at the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda for several days, before being brought to the Roselawn cemetery and crematorium in Belfast. Just eight people attended his funeral, some of whom were police officials.

Mackin’s parents didn’t make the journey home for his funeral.

Questions

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Questions are being raised about the nature of cross-border law enforcement co-operation and resources in the light of Adrian Mackin’s crimes.

“It’s worrying that this self-styled IRA man, who said he was going to take on the offices of law and order, could come before the Special Criminal Court, be allowed free on bail and so little was done as to his surveillance thereafter,” Richie Culhane, Fine Gael councillor for Louth and former Garda special branch officer, told Prime Time.

There’s the economics of it I suppose. The force is very badly stretched in that area.

An additional 25 gardaí have been assigned to the Dundalk Garda division in the aftermath of Garda Golden’s murder.

Allison Morris, security correspondent with the Irish News, told Prime Time that the five days Mackin spent on remand following his charge for membership of an illegal organisation was “practically unheard of”.

“For someone to get bail in such short order for such a serious offence, particularly someone with a history of serious crime and violent armed offences, is incredibly unusual,” she said.

At the very least he should only have been released under very strict conditions, strict curfews, tagging, that kind of thing.
You have to ask what information was being shared by the PSNI and the gardaí in this case.

“I can’t think of a similar case to this one at all,” she added.

Read: One of life’s gentlemen: ‘Tony made his time on this earth beautiful in so many ways’

Read: After killing of Garda Tony Golden, majority of people think laws on bail are too soft

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