Stephen Silver found guilty of capital murder of Garda Colm Horkan
Silver, who made no reaction to the verdict, now faces the mandatory minimum sentence of 40 years in prison
After two trials at the Central Criminal Court, a jury has found Stephen Silver, who shot Garda Colm Horkan 11 times with his own gun, guilty of capital murder.
The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for a total of eight hours and 39 minutes before returning their verdict today to Ms Justice Tara Burns.
Silver, who made no reaction to the verdict, now faces the mandatory minimum sentence of 40 years in prison having been convicted of capital murder.
The trial heard that Gda Horkan was a well-regarded member of the force with 25 years’ service and no disciplinary issues on his record. The prosecution told the jury that Gda Horkan had no idea when he signed out his firearm on the afternoon of June 17, 2020, that he would be shot dead with the same gun just nine hours later.
They maintained Silver had a "seething resentment" toward gardaí and that the shooting of Gda Horkan was “a deliberate action done with the intent of murder".
Following the verdict, Ms Justice Burns thanked the jury and excused them from jury service for the rest of their lives.
Silver (46), a motorbike mechanic from Aughaward, Foxford, Co Mayo had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Det Garda Horkan knowing or being reckless as to whether he was a member of An Garda Siochana acting in accordance with his duty.
He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, at Castlerea, Co. Roscommon on 17 June 2020, and the jury were told the main issue in the trial is Mr Silver’s state of mind at the time of the shooting.
During the trial, the jury heard evidence from Silver that he believed Gda Horkan was “a heavy down from Dublin” who was trying to kill him.
He said that Gda Horkan was wearing a Tommy Hilfiger jacket and “didn’t come across” as a garda.
He gave evidence that a struggle ensued between them before he fell to the ground, and in the process of getting up he felt the gun on Gda Horkan’s hip.
“He had his hand on the gun and I had my hand on the gun and we wrestled. The gun came out; I couldn’t tell you who took it out,” said Silver.
He said that he felt Gda Horkan “was trying to kill me”.
“I kept shooting until the gun finished and there was no ammunition left,” Silver said.
The jury also heard evidence from Dr Brenda Wright, interim clinical director at the Central Mental Hospital, who said it was her view that Silver’s illness at the time he killed Gda Horkan was such that it impaired his thinking and his judgement and therefore contributed significantly to his actions at that time.
However, witness for the prosecution, consultant psychiatrist Professor Harry Kennedy told the jury that he found “no positive evidence” that Silver had suffered a relapse of bipolar affective disorder at the time he shot dead Gda Horkan.
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