NewsNorthern Ireland

Garda killer's ashes stolen from graveyard in bizarre midnight raid

Northern IrelandBy Richard Sullivan
Our exclusive picture shows the ashes just after they were taken from plot
Our exclusive picture shows the ashes just after they were taken from plot

Cop killer Adrian Crevan Mackin’s ashes have been snatched in a ghoulish midnight raid on a country graveyard.

Mackin’s remains, which had been buried in a family plot without permission, have been dug up and removed in a body-snatching plot that will stun parishioners in the sleepy rural parish of Drumgath, Co. Down.

Adrian Mackin

The Sunday World today publishes shocking pictures of killer Mackin’s urn the minute it was removed from a grave in St Patrick’s Church, close to Mayobridge.

We can reveal the killer’s remains were exhumed this week under the cover of darkness and taken away.

Last October he gunned down Garda Tony Golden after the officer was called to the house Mackin shared with partner Siobhan Phillips to investigate a complaint of domestic violence.

As Garda Golden approached the house, a deranged Mackin, having shot and wounded Siobhan, gunned down the hero cop before turning the gun on himself.

The killing stunned the small community in Omeath, Co. Louth. The unarmed officer was a popular figure and it emerged his killer had a long history  of violence and psychotic behaviour, including on one occasion putting a gun to his mother’s head.

His parents emigrated to Australia in a desperate attempt to get away from their violent son and in the wake of the Golden killing his remaining family members disowned the 25-year-old.

Fewer than 10 people attended the killer’s cremation and his ashes remained unclaimed for months.

Sources close to the family said he was “born bad” and his life was dogged by dark moods and violent outbursts. His parents sold up and moved away while he was serving a prison sentence in Hydebank Prison, Belfast, for a serious assault.

Despite his reputation, the brazen desecration of a churchyard and burial plot will shock churchgoers.   

Families wandered through the immaculately maintained burial ground on Friday during an annual blessing of the graves, unaware that one of the resting places had been defiled.

Suspicions were raised when it was noticed a Mackin family plot appeared to have been disturbed. Ornaments on a granite plinth had been moved and it was clear pebbles covering the grave had been disturbed. 

The Sunday World understands the casket, which had been claimed by persons unknown, was buried within the last few weeks.

Two fresh wreaths, one of them believed to have been from a former girlfriend, had also been placed on the grave.

We can reveal there is no official record of Mackin having been buried,  with his remains being interred without the knowledge of church authorities.

According to sources, the surface of the grave appeared “sunken”.

“The whole community, including his family, had washed their hands of him,” a well-placed source told us.

“It may shock people, but we could not stomach the idea that his remains had been secretly interred in the family plot without their knowledge or permission. It’s a defilement.

“People will no doubt think it was a desecration to open the grave and take him out – but it was a bigger desecration to leave him there. It was agreed to dig up the remains of a killer and dispose of the ashes in a place less worthy.”

Working under arc lights, an area roughly 18x30ins was excavated.

The grave robbers prized open the lid of the nine inch casket and pictured what remains of killer Mackin.

“This is what a cop killer looks like,” said our source.

The casket was unceremoniously stuffed into a shopping bag, driven away and reburied at an unknown and unmarked location.

When the Sunday World visited the idyllic country church it was clear the grave had been disturbed. A clumsy attempt had been made to cover any signs of the grave having been defiled. Clumps of earth lay on the ground where soil was piled up.

When we contacted the Parochial House yesterday it was confirmed there were no parish records of Mackin having been buried in St Patrick’s Churchyard. When asked about the remains being removed, Curate Fr Tom McAteer said: “It’s news to me.”

Parish priest Fr Charlie Byrne failed to respond to several messages.

Crevan Mackin shot dead Garda Golden (above) and seriously injured the mother of his two children Siobhán Phillips last October after a domestic disturbance. He then turned the gun on himself.

It was a violent end to a troubled life. Having left home at the age of 15, he flitted across towns in Northern Ireland before settling down in Newry, where he met Siobhan.

Despite misgivings from her family, the then 21-year-old fell for Mackin. She also stood by him after he was jailed for possession of images of bestiality.

Despite repeated attempts to leave him, she always went back. She made a miraculous recovery despite suffering two gun shot wounds to the head at the hands of her deranged lover. 

Mackin, who had few friends, had links to dissident republican crime gangs who used him to carry out robberies and punishment attacks.

Cremated under a shroud of secrecy, his final journey was witnessed by a handful of people, in stark contrast to the funeral of Garda Golden in Blackrock, Co. Louth, where an estimated 7,000 people, including President Michael D Higgins, lined the streets as his remains were carried to St Oliver Plunkett Church.