We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Garda Tony Golden Garda Press Office

Inquest hears Garda Tony Golden was shot five times

The inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

A VERDICT OF unlawful killing has been returned at the inquest today into the murder of Garda Tony Golden (36) who was shot multiple times while on duty on 11 October 2015.

Garda Golden was shot in the back as he helped Siobhan Phillips (24) prepare to leave the home she had shared with her partner Adrian Crevan Mackin (25).

Mackin, a dissident Republican, had also shot and seriously wounded Siobhan before turning the gun on himself.

Siobhan Phillips was not at the inquest as she was not well enough to attend but her father Sean and her step-mother Norma were there.

The inquest heard that Mackin had been buying gun components on the darknet using Siobhan’s credit card and while she knew he had access to a firearm, she had not told anyone including gardaí.

On Sunday afternoon 11 October she gave Garda Golden a lengthy statement outlining a vicious assault on her by Mackin at their home in Omeath, Co Louth, from around 8pm on Friday 9 October 2015 until early the next morning.

He punched her, cut her wrist and thigh, called her a tramp, kicked her in the head and made her sleep on the floor.

In his deposition Sean Phillips said he had gone with his daughter Siobhan and Garda Golden to the house in Omeath on 11 October after she made her statement of complaint about Mackin.

Mr Philips said Siobhan and Garda Golden walked in the front door of the house. The front door was open and he heard Garda Golden’s voice and then Mackin’s voice.

Mackin said ‘I won’t hurt you pet, we have been through too much, you are not leaving me.’

Mr Phillips said then he heard three “bangs” in quick succession followed by three more bangs and “I would estimate between Tony and Siobhan entering the house and the shots, a minute had passed”.

Dundalk Coroner’s Court heard that Mackin had shot Garda Golden five times from close range and three of his garda colleagues had tried to save his life as he lay on the floor inside the front door of the house.

The inquest heard that 10 bullets were fired from the Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol that was found on the landing beside Mackin’s body.


The Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis carried out the post-mortem on Garda Golden and said he had been shot five times, four were while facing the firearm but the fatal wound was a shot to his back.

Dr Curtis said death would have been “rapid if not instantaneous,” and was due to multiple gunshot wounds.

The body of Mackin was found on the landing while in a bedroom Siobhan Phillips was found covered in blood and moaning.

Sean Phillips was questioned by Mr James MacGuill, solicitor for Nicola Golden, Garda Golden’s widow, about when he knew that Mackin had access to firearms.

He said, “I didn’t know this guy had weapons, if I had nobody would have went near that house. I would have reported it immediately.”

The inquest heard that Siobhan had not told gardai or her father about Mackin having access to firearms.

Her step-mother Norma Phillips, when it was put to her that Siobhan was aware Mackin had access to firearms and she lied by not telling her about it or telling gardai, she replied “she withheld it from everyone”.

The inquest heard that when Siobhan Phillips had attended Dundalk Garda Station on Saturday 10 October, the day after the assault, that the garda on duty had declined to take a statement because he noticed her forehead was swollen, she had a bruised eye and a cut to her wrist and she complained of pains in her head as well as feeling dizzy.

He advised her that the priority was for her to get medical attention and he explained about barring orders, safety orders and protection orders. He said he would liaise with the gardai in Omeath and once she was given the all clear by the hospital that they (Omeath gardaí) would take her statement.

The garda also said that the station computer he can access does not contain information on whether somebody is a confidential informer.

Criminal behaviour 

The inquest heard that Mackin’s behaviour had not been normal as a child and as a teenager he got involved in criminal behaviour. He spent time in a psychiatric hospital and when he was discharged discovered his parents had moved to Australia.

His sister Sinead Hynes said he then fell in with Republicans and in 2010 he met Siobhan.

Sean Phillips claimed that social services had become involved with Mackin at an early age. He said Mackin had had been involved in bestiality with a sheep when he was 16 years old and had taken also a knife to his mother.

Mackin’s house had been raided by the PSNI and he was charged with possession of pornography and acts of bestiality.

In January, 2015, Mackin was charged with membership of the IRA and spent four weeks in custody in Portlaoise Prison.

However, he was given bail and returned to the house in Omeath to live with Ms Philips.

In her statement read to the inquest hearing today, Siobhan said Mackin became convinced she had been unfaithful to him while he was in prison and he became repeatedly violent.

At the inquest Sean Phillips repeated his call for a public enquiry into what into what had happened and said Mackin, “was a monster and we want to know why he was out of jail”.

“I’ve been looking for answers and calling for a public enquiry. I need to know the truth of what happened so it won’t happen again. I want the truth, nobody should be afraid of the truth.

I didn’t know he was on bail for membership of the the IRA, but for offences against the State.


The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing. The Coroner Mr Ronan Maguire expressed his heartfelt sympathies to Garda Golden’s family and said he remembered the shock at the time, that the whole community was devastated.

Barrister Stephen Byrne, from the Chief State Solicitor’s Office for the Garda Commissioner, also expressed his sympathies saying it was a stark reminder that members of An Garda Siochana doing their duty put their lives at risk on a daily basis and this should not be forgotten.

Speaking afterwards, Mr MacGuill, Nicola Golden’s solicitor said:

My client is delighted that the inquest is over. She welcomes the verdict of the jury and she would like to repeat her request that the privacy of herself and her children is respected at this time, and that reflects the broader family as well.

Read: Murdered Garda Tony Golden honoured with medal for ‘bravery and great courage’ >

Read: ‘We’re doing it for Tony this year’: Colleagues of murdered garda continue Movember tradition >