Man guilty of capital murder of 'kind, caring' Detective Garda Colm Horkan

Man guilty of capital murder of 'kind, caring' Detective Garda Colm Horkan

A MAN has been found guilty of the capital murder of Detective Garda Colm Horkan.

Stephen Silver, 46, of Aughavard, Foxford, Co. Mayo, shot Garda Horkan 11 times with his own gun in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon on June 17, 2020.

Silver had managed to take possession of Garda Horkan's gun during a struggle after he had resisted arrest.

Paying tribute to his brother, Brendan Horkan described him as 'the glue in our family'.

"Colm was the best of us, a gentleman through and through. He deserved this verdict today," he said.

Detective Garda Colm Horkan’s brother Brendan, centre, and father Marty, right, outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin today (Image: Sam Boal /

"We were horrified and shocked to the core to learn of the circumstances which led to Colm's death as he went about his job, policing the streets and keeping the general public protected and safe at all times."

He added: "Colm was a fantastic son, brother, uncle and friend.

"His memory remains etched in our minds every minute of every day.

"Today's verdict, while giving us some closure, will never replace him, the man who was the glue in our family and bound it all together.

"We love him dearly."

'Ultimate sacrifice'

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris meanwhile described the 49-year-old Garda as 'a kind, caring man'.

"Colm went to work in Castlerea Garda Station on June 17, 2020. It was a routine day's work for Colm," he said.

"Colm was murdered on duty and never came home to his family.

"Colm's death reinforces to every member of An Garda Síochána the reality of the dangers and the uncertainty of the work that we face every day.

"I want to pay tribute to the Garda investigation team in Castlerea Garda Station, supported by the wider Garda organisation, that professionally investigated all the circumstances of Colm's murder.

Detective Garda Horkan had made the 'ultimate sacrifice', said Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (Image: An Garda Síochána)

"That investigation is a tribute to the professionalism of An Garda Síochána and to Colm.

"Finally, today we stand with and support Colm's father Marty, his siblings, wider family and friends and we remember his mother Dolores and twin sister Colette.

"Today, as every day, we remember our colleague Colm who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the local community he served so well.

"He will always be remembered as the kind, caring man, and professional and empathetic Garda, that he was."


Detective Garda Horkan was born in Charlestown, Co. Mayo, the eldest of seven children.

A proud member of the local Sarsfields GAA club, he also represented Mayo at U21 level.

He joined An Garda Síochána on July 25, 1994 and was stationed in Finglas, Castlerea and Ballaghadereen Stations.

Shortly before midnight on the night of his murder, Detective Garda Horkan had responded to reports of two males driving erratically on a motorcycle in the Knockroe area of Castlerea.

Although they had since left the area, Garda Horkan continued his patrol and came across two males fitting the description on Main Street, Castlerea.

He stopped his unmarked car and spoke through the window with the males, one of whom he knew.

The other male, Silver, then became aggressive and Garda Horkan exited his car.

As he attempted to make an arrest, Silver resisted and a struggle ensued.

During the struggle, Silver managed to take possession of Garda Horkan's firearm, shooting him 11 times and fatally injuring him.

Silver is due to be sentenced on April 19.