‘No pardon’: Stephen Silver sentenced to life in jail for murdering Garda Colm Horkan

Marty Horkan, father of the late Colm Horkan, leaves the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street in Dublin following Stephen Silver's sentencing hearing.  Image: Paddy Cummins

Garda’s sister Colm Horkan, who was shot eleven instances along with her personal service pistol, instructed her brother’s killer there’s “no forgiveness” for what he did and he or she desires him to keep in mind that each evening” when the cell door closes behind you”.

Stephen Silver, 46, was as we speak jailed for all times with a minimal time to serve of 40 years.

Garda Horkan’s household and pals packed the legal courtroom to listen to the sentence being handed down. In statements learn to the court docket, Garda Horkan’s household described him as a loving and considerate man who was “the one we all the time went to for recommendation.”

His sister, Deirdre Horkan, mentioned: ‘If I would identified this was going to occur, I by no means would have cherished him as a lot as I do. It was so onerous to dwell with out him, one of the best a part of me died that evening on that road with him. . “

Marty Horkan, father of the late Colm Horkan, leaves the Prison Courts of Justice on Parkgate Avenue in Dublin following Stephen Silver’s sentencing listening to. Picture: Paddy Cummins

Outdoors the courthouse after the sentencing listening to, Garda Horkan’s father Marty mentioned: “It is nice to have the ability to transfer ahead now, it has been a troublesome few years. It is nice that it is throughout and that there is justice for Colm. That is what he deserved as a result of he was a beautiful son.”

He mentioned the loss is immeasurable to the group and the native GAA membership. “He labored in every single place for anybody he may assist always… I miss him terribly. There are lonely nights at dwelling with out him. It is a unhappy dwelling and it has been, however a minimum of we will transfer on from as we speak.”

He mentioned he does not have a lot to say to his son’s killer apart from that he’s sorry for his mom. She added: “It took him two and a half years to apologize to my household… I might confidently say he was suggested by his authorized group to take action, in any other case he would not have completed it. That is all I’ve to say.” about”.

He mentioned the sentence given to Silver was “justice for what he did. I hope he has to serve each day.” He additionally praised the respect proven to himself and the garda by the court docket and most people. He mentioned the household had acquired greetings and playing cards from folks in each county.


In court docket, Choose Tara Burns prolonged her condolences to the Horkan household who she mentioned had been visibly traumatized by the tragic circumstances that led to the dying of their household’s “coronary heart and soul.” She additionally urged folks affected by psychological well being points to acknowledge the significance of constant their medical therapy in gentle of proof that Silver had stopped taking her prescribed drugs for her bipolar affective dysfunction when she shot Gda Horkan.

Ms Justice Burns mentioned issues “would have been very completely different” had she maintained her therapy routine.

In handing down the sentence, the decide mentioned he had no discretion because the jury had returned a verdict that Silver is responsible of killing a member of the garda by performing within the line of responsibility. He sentenced him to life in jail and, in accordance with the Prison Justice Act 1990, specified that he should serve a minimal of 40 years in jail.

Beneath bizarre good conduct remission, Silver will have the ability to apply for parole after serving 30 years. Having been arrested in June 2020, he might be 74 when he can first be thought of for launch by a parole board.

Silver, a bike mechanic from Aughaward, Foxford, Co Mayo, had pleaded not responsible to the homicide of Det Garda Horkan, 49, understanding or being reckless whether or not he was a member of An Garda Siochana performing in the middle of responsibility. He pleaded responsible to manslaughter in Castlerea, County Roscommon on 17 June 2020, and the jury was instructed the primary difficulty within the trial was Mr Silver’s frame of mind on the time of the capturing.

‘all the time there for me’

Earlier than the sentence was handed down, Prosecuting Counsel James Dwyer SC learn statements that had been written by Garda Horkan’s father Marty, brother Dermot, sister Deirdre and cousin Bosco Horkan.

Deirdre wrote that Colm was the eldest of seven siblings and “put a roof over our heads; he was like a second father”. He mentioned that “he by no means pressured himself on us, however it was him we all the time went to for recommendation. I gave him each downside as if it had been his to unravel, and he did.”

She mentioned she “tortured him typically” however she cherished it and he knew it. She acted as his “private shopper and waitress” and he was “all the time there for me. It doesn’t matter what I did for him, he was all the time grateful.”

She remembered him as all the time spotless and the day he died was no completely different along with his completely pressed black trousers and costume shirt.

Detective Garda Colm Horkan.
Detective Garda Colm Horkan.

Within the yr earlier than her dying, Deirdre mentioned they “did loads collectively”; they went to galway races and dwell concert events, and when covid hit they shared “a incredible few months” collectively. In the course of the lockdown, she mentioned she would get up at 6am to speak to her brother about her whereas she ate breakfast as a result of she would have nobody to speak to for the remainder of the day.

Within the evenings, she “sat and talked to him over dinner; I did not understand how treasured these moments had been.”

Garda Horkan cherished her pals as a lot as her household and had a “nice social life,” she mentioned, snowboarding and attending Mayo soccer video games, taking part in golf or going to the films. “Something involving some craic, he was there,” he mentioned. “He had a lot extra to dwell and was robbed of a lot.”

The youngest technology of the household is left with solely the reminiscence of the person who shared a cake with them on each birthday or performed soccer with them on the garden. “He cherished Christmas and made it magical for the youngsters,” he mentioned.

The official Garda funeral, he mentioned, disadvantaged Garda Horkan of the farewell he deserved and the household felt forgotten. Associates of Garda Horkan watched the proceedings on a giant display screen in a GAA area whereas others, together with an in depth cousin, watched from completely different international locations with no household to share the second.

“The unhappiness of the household, in all corners of the globe, was felt profound once we buried him and so they weren’t with us,” Deirdre mentioned.

He mentioned his brother had been murdered whereas doing the job he cherished.

Gda Horkan’s father, Marty Horkan, mentioned he was “shocked and numb” when he awoke to information that his son had been killed in Castlerea. Hours earlier, she had mentioned goodbye to Colm after watching a horse race collectively.

He described Colm as son who was trustworthy, dependable and “all the time there for me”. He mentioned he was traumatized and heard the “brutal and graphic particulars” of how Colm died.

He mentioned he was a proud father and was particularly happy with the tales others instructed about how his son had helped them in a “quiet, unassuming approach.”

His dying was an enormous loss to the household, Marty mentioned, however “additionally to these folks he may have helped had he lived.”

“He would maintain you”

The brother of the deceased, Dermot, recalled going to see his brother’s physique and holding his hand. “I knew he was gone at that stage, I used to be fortunate and unfortunate to be there,” he mentioned.

He mentioned the dying was “a horrible loss to all of us” and remembered his brother as somebody who would give one of the best recommendation and route. “Even rising up, he would maintain you and maintain you.”

Bosco Horkan mentioned that Garda Horkan was his cousin and lifelong buddy. “I used to be wanting ahead to rather more than my previous couple of years with him. We had many good and dangerous days in Croke Park watching Mayo and he was by no means one to carry again his emotions in regards to the sport.”

He mentioned the group had misplaced an “unimaginable, considerate and selfless human being”, and added, “It nonetheless makes me so unhappy and offended on the pointlessness of his homicide. His loss is immeasurable.”

Maurice Coffey SC, for Silver, learn an apology letter from his shopper. Silver wrote that “phrases can not categorical how sorry I’m about what occurred”. He mentioned not a day goes by that he does not give it some thought and regrets it and mentioned he is aware of what it feels wish to grieve, having misplaced a stepson some years in the past.

He added, “I by no means needed anybody to get damage. I used to be mentally ailing on the time and was not accountable for my actions.” He mentioned his actions had induced Garda Horkan’s dying, including: “For that I’m sincerely sorry.”

‘Soul and coronary heart of the household’

Ms Justice Tara Burns addressed the Horkan household and mentioned she observed their presence in the course of the trial. She mentioned their ache and struggling was “apparent” and mentioned “I do not usually see a traumatized household.”

He added: “I can say that sitting right here for a lot of tragic instances earlier than me, it was clear from the outset on this case that the Horkan household was marked very deeply by the extraordinarily tragic circumstances of the evening in query.”

He supplied his condolences and mentioned he hoped the top of the trial may “carry some type of an finish” for the household and that whereas the household won’t ever recover from what occurred, he hoped they’d study to dwell with it.

“He was clearly the guts and soul of the household,” she mentioned.

He mentioned it was an clearly tragic case and was eager to spotlight the significance for individuals who have psychological well being points to stay with the therapy routine prescribed by their medical doctors. Silver, she mentioned, has been concerned in psychological well being providers for a major period of time and has acquired first-class take care of her bipolar dysfunction. She has acquired recommendation, she mentioned, that she hasn’t accepted, and “it is one thing she has to dwell with for the remainder of her life.”

The sentence is backdated to June 19, when Silver was first arrested.

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