'best friend'  | 

Tributes flood in for tattoo artist Aidan Mann who died in Down knife attack

"I’ll never forget all he’s taught me. He wasn’t just an artist at the studio, he was my best friend and a member of our family."
The PSNI at the scene of the stabbing (Pic Pacemaker)

The PSNI at the scene of the stabbing (Pic Pacemaker)

Jamie McDowell

Tributes have flooded in online for popular tattoo artist Aidan ‘Zen’ Mann (28) who lost his life after a knife attack in Downpatrick, Co Down, yesterday.

Eyewitnesses say Aidan was stabbed by a man before four onlookers wrestled the alleged attacker to the ground and disarmed him at around 11am.

In a statement, the Sailors and Scoundrels tattoo parlour posted on Facebook: "There’s no easy way to write this status and I really wish I didn’t have to. But sadly today the world lost one of the best artists and human beings I know.

Aidan Mann

Aidan Mann

"I’ve worked with Aidan/ Zen in three different studios and I’ve seen him grow so much through the years, I’ve looked up to him and he’s mentored me and everyone else in the studio.

"I’ll never forget all he’s taught me. He wasn’t just an artist at the studio, he was my best friend and a member of our family.

"I’m gonna miss arguing with him over coils vs rotarys and it’s gonna be hard to tattoo without him beside me blaring My Chemical Romance everyday.’

Aidan (far left) on a night out with friends

Aidan (far left) on a night out with friends

They added: "I love you dude, and I wish you were still here and we could sit drinking beer and rewatching ink master on repeat while painting flash. I really hope you find peace.

"Right now as unprofessional as it sounds I can’t find the energy to message all his appointments but I will in the next few days to sort it all out. I'm really sorry guys."

Under the statement, one person posted: "So sorry for your loss. Zen was such an incredibly talented artist, anyone I knew who had been tattooed by them was in love with their work, and I’d been looking forward to having my own piece by them.

"Thinking of you all. xx"

Another said: "What a loss to this cruel, cruel world. The guy was an absolute legend, always had time to chat and have a great laugh.

"He could turn the most basic of ideas into absolutely spectacular pieces…and did many times for me. The pieces mean the world to me and will be treasured so much more now.

"Rest peacefully big man, you will be missed!!"

Some of Aidan's work

Some of Aidan's work

Meanwhile, another pal said: "I can't believe this. Zen was an amazing tattooist and a good friend. They got on with everyone and would talk to anyone. You might be gone but you will never be forgotten."

In a statement from the PSNI, Detective Inspector Foreman said: “The 28-year-old male victim was stabbed in the Church Street area of the town at around 11am on Monday, 3rd January. Sadly, despite help from the public and medical assistance from paramedics, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

"A man in his 30s was arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in custody at this time.

“We are also aware that some video footage taken of the incident is being shared on social media. I am asking people not to share or view that footage.

“If anyone has information that could assist our investigation please get in touch. If you have dash cam or mobile phone footage of any part of this brutal incident, and have not yet contacted us, please do so by calling 101 quoting reference number 497 of 03/01/22."

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