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Detective Garda Colm Horkan, who was killed in Roscommon. Garda Press
colm horkan

Garda Colm Horkan helped to have man accused of his murder admitted to psychiatric unit in 2003

Due to Stephen Silver’s behaviour, it was deemed appropriate to admit him to the local psychiatric unit, the court heard.

GARDA COLM HORKAN, who was shot dead two years ago, helped to have the man accused of his murder admitted to a psychiatric unit in 2003, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Tom O’Connor, a retired garda sergeant, told prosecution counsel James Dwyer SC that he received a call on 29 October that year relating to an incident at the family home of Stephen Silver in Roscommon, about 12 miles from Castlerea.

Silver denies Garda Horkan’s murder but has pleaded guilty to his manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.

O’Connor said he attended the scene with a local doctor and two other gardaí, one of whom was Garda Horkan.

Due to Silver’s behaviour, it was deemed appropriate to admit him to the local psychiatric unit, O’Connor said.

Under cross-examination, O’Connor told defence counsel Gerardine Small SC that later that day he spoke to Garda Horkan, who told him they had taken Silver to the psychiatric unit and there had been “no hassle”.

Silver was asked about that incident when being interviewed by gardaí following the shooting of Garda Horkan. He said he did not remember it.

Detective Inspector Sean Costelloe told Small that Silver has just one previous conviction from 2000 for driving without insurance or tax.

Silver (46), a motorbike mechanic from Aughavard, Foxford, Co Mayo has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Detective Garda Horkan knowing or being reckless as to whether he was a member of An Garda Siochana acting in accordance with his duty.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, at Castlerea, Co. Roscommon on 17 June, 2020.

The jury also watched video footage today of Silver’s fifth and final interview at Castlerea Garda Station, one day after the shooting.

In the interview Inspector Brian Hanley asked Silver if he was angry with gardaí because of a garda raid on the home of a friend of the accused some weeks earlier. “Is that why you shot Colm Horkan?”, he asked.

Inspector Hanley added that in Silver’s own account, the only act of aggression by Garda Horkan was putting his hand on Silver’s hand.

The inspector added: “All other acts of aggression in that struggle were from you. You said you punched him with your fists, that you hit him with the butt of the gun.”

Silver also told gardai that when he had taken Garda Horkan’s gun during the struggle he moved about one metre or more away from the detective.

Inspector Hanley asked: “You could have walked away then Stephen but you didn’t, why? Do you want to answer that?

“Why is it, why are we having a State funeral for Colm Horkan when he should be at home with his family, and you should be home with your family, but you’re not, you’re here as a result of your actions and Colm Horkan is dead because of your actions, not his actions.” Silver did not respond.
Inspector Hanley said Garda Horkan had identified himself as a garda three times and told Silver he was going to arrest him.

The inspector added: “You saw his firearm. Who else has a firearm in a holster on their hip? Guards. You knew he was a guard.”

Silver again did not answer. He also refused to sign the memo of the interview and did not respond when asked if the memo was accurate.

The trial continues tomorrow in front of Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of seven men and five women.