Mechanic accused of murdering Garda Colm Horkan was ‘crazy looking’ after shooting

The jury also heard today that the gunshots sounded like “fireworks” on the night Gda Horkan was shot 11 times with his own gun

Detective Garda Colm Horkan and (inset) Stephen Silver


A motorbike mechanic accused of the capital murder of Garda Colm Horkan was “looking crazy” after the garda was shot dead, a witness has told the Central Criminal Court.

The jury in the trial of Stephen Silver (46), of Aughavard, Foxford, Co Mayo, also heard today that the gunshots sounded like “fireworks” on the night Gda Horkan was shot 11 times with his own gun at Castlerea, Co Roscommon, on June 17, 2020.

Mr Silver has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Gda Horkan knowing or being reckless as to whether he was a member of An Garda Síochána acting in accordance with his duty. He has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Civilian witness Dyenny Makulova, a Slovakian national who lived on Castlerea Main Street, gave evidence to counsel for the prosecution, Michael Delaney SC that she was at home on the night when she heard gunshots outside and a loud argument involving more than one voice.

She said she heard four shots in total and at the time she “thought they were fireworks”.

She said she looked out and saw a man lying on the road with another man standing next to him.

The man standing had long hair in a ponytail and he was holding a gun.

A garda shouted at the man to drop his gun and he did. Ms Makulova said a female garda was saying to him: “You killed the man.”

The witness said that when the garda told him she was arresting him, the man replied, “Why?” She said the garda told him, “You killed that man.”

In response to cross-examination by defence counsel Maurice Coffey SC, the witness confirmed that in her original statement to gardaí, she described the man as “looking crazy or something”.

Dermot Mulvihill, who owns a business premises on Castlerea Main Street, gave evidence to counsel for the prosecution, James Dwyer SC, that he was at home on the night when he heard two loud bangs outside.

“I thought it was a firework,” he said.

He told the court that he heard more bangs and went out onto the street, where he saw a man shouting on the corner and another man lying on the ground towards the middle of the road.

He said he heard the man on the corner shouting at two gardaí. Mr Mulvihill said the man threw an object onto the ground and shouted, “I’ve thrown it down.”

“I could hear it hitting the ground with a metal sound,” said Mr Mulvihill.

He described the man as being “tallish” with long hair and wearing dark clothes with a visibility jacket on.

He said the man put up his hands and got down on the ground on his belly first before he got up on his knees.

He said the gardaí approached the man “very cautiously” and handcuffed him.

Mr Mulvihill gave evidence that he assisted a garda in trying to resuscitate the man on the ground with a defibrillator, taking turns in giving him compressions.

He said that he and the garda did this for “a good while” and then the ambulance arrived.

In response to cross-examination by Mr Coffey, the witness said that the man shouted at the gardaí, “He’s dead, he’s dead.”

Garda Mark Lawless gave evidence to Mr Dwyer that CCTV footage on the night shows Mr Silver walking out of view and then his hand comes back into view again. Gda Lawless said he believed this hand was holding a gun.

Detective Garda Rachel O’Malley, of Forensic Science Ireland, gave evidence to Mr Delaney that she received 10 photographic images of finger and palm marks on the gun as well as finger and palm prints from Mr Silver taken at Castlerea Garda Station.

She said that she identified a left palm print on the gun matching Mr Silver’s.

During cross-examination by defence counsel Dominic McGinn SC, Det Gda O’Malley said this was the only mark that she identified and that the other marks had insufficient characteristics for identification.

At the opening of the trial, Mr McGinn told the jury that there was no issue with the cause of death in this case, as it was accepted that Gda Horkan tragically died as a result of being shot a number of times. Mr McGinn said the accused’s responsibility is accepted, as Mr Silver admits shooting and killing Gda Horkan.

“The main issue is Mr Silver’s state of mind at the time,” said Mr McGinn.

The trial jury also heard that in the hours after his arrest, the accused refused an assessment from a psychiatrist, who told the court that Mr Silver showed “no evidence of an active mental illness” when he assessed him.

“I thought there was no evidence of an active mental illness. That didn’t mean he doesn’t have one,” Dr William Monteiro told the jury.

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

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