Man arrested for defacing Garda Horkan book of condolences

Man allegedly wrote derogatory comment in book before boasting on social media

The remains of Det Garda Colm Horkan are carried into  St James’ Church, Charlestown, Co Mayo, on Sunday. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

The remains of Det Garda Colm Horkan are carried into St James’ Church, Charlestown, Co Mayo, on Sunday. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

 

A man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after allegedly defacing a book of condolences laid out in Dublin following the death of Det Garda Colm Horkan.

The incident occurred at Blanchardstown Garda station in Dublin on Friday night when the man allegedly wrote a derogatory comment in a book which had been placed in the public area of the station for members of the public to express their condolences regarding the Garda’s death.

The suspect, aged 23, is believed to have later shared an image of the defaced book on social media, along with a laughing emoji.

Books of condolence have been opened in Garda stations and public buildings nationwide following the death of Det Garda Horkan on Wednesday night in Castlerea, Co Roscommon. He was shot dead with his own weapon after responding to an incident on the main street of the town. His funeral took place in his hometown of Charlestown on Sunday.

The suspect, who is from Blanchardstown in Dublin 15, was arrested after a person noticed the book had been defaced and alerted gardaí. CCTV footage showed he had written in the book on Friday night and images of the defacement were later found on his social media.

There is nothing to indicate the suspect knew or had any connection to Det Garda Horkan.

He was arrested on Saturday at his home. A specialist firearms unit was employed to carry out the arrest due to the man’s history of violence and his connection to serious criminals. He was brought to Blanchardstown Garda station for interview. The offence carries a 12-month maximum sentence and a €1,000 fine on conviction in the district court.

The man has several previous convictions, including one relating to a violent assault in the city centre in which two young men were attacked. He is also currently before the courts on several other serious charges.