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Stephen Silver PA images
stephen silver

Garda murder accused denies 'inventing' claims woman was in MI6 in order to 'bolster' his case

Silver denied he had made up the beliefs that a woman he was with on the day Garda Colm Horkan was killled was in MI6.

STEPHEN SILVER, WHO is on trial accused of murdering a garda with his own gun, has denied “inventing” that he believed a woman he was with on the morning of the shooting was in MI6 in order to “bolster” his case.  

Under cross examination from Michael Delaney SC, prosecuting, today, Silver denied he had made up the beliefs that the woman was in MI6, insisting: “No, I had these thoughts”.

Delaney said this was not mentioned in garda interviews and the accused had, in fact, spoken in “glowing terms” about the woman.  

Counsel also put it to Silver that in his interviews with gardaí he’d said “don’t rattle me” and that if people “keep poking” then someday the person was liable to “just go f**k it”.  

“Are you not saying there that if you poke me enough I’ll explode?” asked Delaney to which Silver replied: “Yes”.

The accused denied knowing that Garda Colm Horkan was a garda or that he was trying to arrest him and said he had been “defending myself” because the garda “attacked me for no reason.”

Silver (46), a motorbike mechanic from Aughavard, Foxford, Co Mayo has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Garda Horkan (49) knowing or being reckless as to whether he was a member of An Garda Siochana acting in accordance with his duty at Castlerea, Co Roscommon on 17 June, 2020.    

He has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and the jury have been told the main issue in the trial is Silver’s state of mind at the time of the shooting.

In his direct evidence to the trial, Silver has told the jury that he had his first mental health episode when he was 19, had been admitted to hospital 16 or 17 times and was told that he had schizoaffective disorder.  

Giving evidence this morning, Silver agreed with Delaney that his hostility to gardaí was getting worse as the interviews went on and that by the final interview he was “extremely hostile to gardaí”.

However, when Delaney put it to him that there was a “particular reason” for this, adding “you expected that you would be released at that stage”, Silver denied this was the case and denied he was becoming frustrated and angry because the questioning was continuing.  

Delaney put it to the accused that he [Silver] had told Dr Greg Kelly, a GP who had seen him on June 18, that he was going to get out later that day.  

“It was just that I assumed I would because I wasn’t thinking straight,” Silver replied. “You know after shooting a guard you‘re not going to get out.”

He said he “thought the cavalry would come”, in the form of his father and his uncle and “they’d take over from me and it would be alright.”

Delaney said Silver’s previous criminal behaviour had never resulted in a prosecution and instead would end with Silver being admitted to hospital. He put it to the accused that he believed this was what would happen on this occasion also.  

Silver denied this was the case.  

Delaney asked the accused about an incident from 2006 which he had told forensic psychiatrist Dr Brenda Wright about in the Autumn of 2020.  

He said on this occasion, Silver had barricaded himself into his apartment in Castlerea and when the guards arrived to escort him to hospital, the accused emerged dressed in leathers, wearing a helmet and holding a long sword over his head.

Silver denied this account and said the sword was an “ornamental sword” which was on the wall.

“I suggest what happened was you came out holding up the sword and threatening the gardaí,” Delaney said.  

“Not true, definitely not true,” Silver replied adding the sword was “only an ornament”.

Delaney put it to him that in Dr Wright’s report there were brackets around part of the account with the words “not true” written on it.  

“Did you write that Mr Silver?”. The accused confirmed he had written the note.

“You told us yesterday you hadn’t read the psychiatrist’s report,” said Delaney.

Silver replied that he “must have” read it.  

Delaney also questioned the accused about an incident in February 2010 when he had behaved in a “violent and aggressive manner” including trying to pull a man out of a van and smashing windows. He also referred to an incident days later when he was brought into custody and became “extremely violent”.

 “Again, you were brought to hospital. You were treated in hospital, you were then discharged after a period of time and there was never a question of prosecuting you for what happened before you were brought to hospital, isn’t that right?” Silver agreed this was true.

“Did you expect to be treated in a similar manner on this occasion?” counsel asked. “Is that why you were getting frustrated on day two?”

The accused denied this was the case. “I was just in a heap really,” he said.  

Silver agreed that all of his relapses had been associated with him not taking his medication.  

“The pattern appears to be you are taken to hospital, you improve fairly quickly and you are then discharged,” Delaney said. “On your discharge you are advised you need to keep taking your medication as well as staying away from alcohol and drugs. You didn’t take that advice ever really?” Milver confirmed he would stop taking his medication when discharged.

The jury heard that while there was a lengthy period without any incident, Silver did suffer two relapses in February 2018 and September 2019.

Silver accepted that PCP had been found in his system following his admittance to hospital in February 2018 but said he had not taken the drug and told Delaney he didn’t know how it came to be in his system. He said his drink may have been “spiked” on a bike trip to Germany prior to his hospital admission.

Silver said he didn’t know how it came to be in his system and suggested he may have been “spiked”. “I categorically do not take drugs,” he added.

He agreed that he had been “very unwell” when he came home that time but denied there was a possibility he was being “selective” in what he was prepared to tell the jury about his drug use.  

Silver also accepted that following his second relapse in September 2019 he was prescribed Olanzapine but stopped taking it after he was discharged.

Delaney asked the accused about the days leading up to the shooting and his belief that the woman he was with in Dublin was in MI6.

He said Silver had said he also thought she was going to push him out of it of an open window and thought builders across the hall were in the SAS.  

Delaney said none of this was mentioned in garda interviews and in fact Silver had spoken in “glowing terms” about his female companion.

The lawyer said there was also very little mentioned about it to either of the forensic psychiatrists despite the fact he had been interviewed a number of times.  

Silver agreed he had mentioned “fleeting thoughts” about his female companion being in MI6 to doctors but that was as far as it went. However, he denied a suggestion by Delaney that his assertions the woman was in MI6 had been “invented” to “bolster his case”.

“No, I had these thoughts,” Silver said.

The trial continues on Monday before Ms Justice Tara Burns and the jury of seven men and five women.  

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