murder trial | 

Garda cries in witness box as she recalls shooting of colleague garda Colm Horkan

Garda Gillen began crying as she told prosecution counsel Michael Delaney SC that she couldn’t remember how many shots were fired, “if it was three, or five”.

Colm Horkan

Stephen Silver

Eoin ReynoldsSunday World

A garda cried in the witness box today as she described to a murder trial seeing a gunman firing a series of shots into her colleague Det Gda Colm Horkan as the detective lay on the ground.

Garda Helen Gillen said she and her colleague Gda Aidan Fallon were driving along the junction between Main St and Patrick St in Castlerea when they saw two men grappling at the side of the road and then heard what they believed to be gunshots.

She said she looked back as Gda Fallon turned the car to block the street and saw a man falling backwards from the pavement into the road.

She continued: “Looking back up and I could see the man on the ground and then another male walked from Gannon’s shop with pace over to this man on the ground and he had a gun in his hand and he shot the man on the ground.

"I could see him shooting him on the ground, and then I remember him turning to go away and then I got out of the car.”

Stephen Silver

Gda Gillen began crying as she told prosecution counsel Michael Delaney SC that she couldn’t remember how many shots were fired, “if it was three, or five".

She saw the man throw the gun away and recalled that he was wearing a backpack and a black jacket with a luminous stripe.

She added: “At this stage I got out of the car and started walking back up towards Patrick St and Aidan got out of the driver’s side and was coming around, saying a man had been shot, killed.

Aidan was shouting at me to pull back but I kept walking because the gun was gone.”

The shooter, she said, was “looking down at us” from the door of Gannon’s shop but then moved to the middle of the junction and began “not hopping but moving from foot to foot, they were wide steps, he was shouting stuff, I can’t remember what he was saying.”

Looking at the man on the ground, she said she recognised the jacket he was wearing and the Hyundai car nearby looked familiar but she couldn’t see the man’s face. She told the other man to get on the ground and he lay face down but then pushed himself up and said that he was “going to be attacked, that man was going to attack me, he had a gun, he was going to attack me.”

Gda Fallon then turned the man on the ground over “and that’s when we knew it was Detective Garda Colm Horkan,” the witness said. When Gda Fallon told Mr Silver that he had “shot a guard” Gda Gillen recalled that the accused responded, “he wasn’t a guard”.

Stephen Silver (46), a motorbike mechanic from Aughavard, Foxford, Co Mayo has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Det Gda Horkan on June 17, 2020 at Castlerea, Co Roscommon.

He is charged that he committed the murder knowing or being reckless as to whether Det Gda Horkan was a member of An Garda Siochana acting in accordance with his duty. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

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

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