Tattoo artist killer jailed for at least nine years – BBC News

  • By Maria McCann
  • BBC News NI north east

image source, Lou Franklin


Aidan Mann, 28, is a tattoo artist based in Bangor

A man will spend at least nine years in prison for the murder of Northern Irish tattoo artist Aidan Mann.

The 28 year old man, known as Zen artist Black, was stabbed 14 times on Church Street in Downpatrick, in January 2022.

The court said Aidan was a completely innocent victim who did nothing to provoke the fatal attack.

Barry Donnelly, 38, whose address is Church Street in Downpatrick, admitted to the murders seeking reduced responsibility.

He was given an unspecified custodial sentence at Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday.

The judge said Donnelly must serve at least nine years in prison before he is eligible to be considered for release.

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland said it was investigating complaints of alleged police failure prior to the killing.

video caption,

“I just thought life had so much to offer” – Aidan Mann’s archival footage

After the sentencing hearing, Aidan’s mother spoke about the devastating impact the killings had on Aidan’s loved ones.

Sonya Mann said Donnelly “stole my life when he killed my son”.

“He chased my son on the street like an animal,” she said.

“The fear my child must have felt and the suffering – it will never leave me.”

The court was previously told that Donnelly had been “actively psychotic” at the time of the attack.

He also pleaded guilty to the offense of possession of an offensive weapon and assault causing actual bodily harm in relation to a previous attack on a mother and son in June 2021.


CCTV footage shown in court traced Donnelly’s movements on the day of Aidan’s death.

The two are neighbors – even though they barely know each other.

The deceased left his flat around 11:00 GMT. After being approached by Donnelly, Aidan crosses the street and starts running along Church Street, still wearing his motorcycle helmet and being chased by him.


The fatal stabbing occurred on Church Street in Downpatrick

The chase continues and, at one point, Aidan turns around, looks back at Donnelly and appears to beckon to him before he crosses the road into oncoming traffic.

CCTV footage then shows Donnelly chasing Aidan on the sidewalk outside a car dealership.

After Aidan falls to the ground, Donnelly straddles his victim, who is stabbed repeatedly in the chest, legs and chest.

Community members intervened, pulled Donnelly from Aidan and called 999. He was arrested while still being held by the community.

Two large kitchen knives used by Donnelly were seized from the scene.

A prosecutor at an earlier hearing said that at the scene Donnelly shouted it was a revenge attack for his brother who had been murdered the night before, which lawyers said “turned out to be absolutely wrong”.

Donnelly was admitted to a psychiatric unit – the Shannon clinic – a month after the murders where he lives.

Two consultant psychiatrists agreed that the accused was suffering from impaired mental functioning arising from schizophrenia at the time of the assault.

A psychiatrist indicated that he might not need to stay longer for treatment and envisioned him moving to prison.

Donnelly’s lawyers told the court his client did not realize he had acute mental illness until after the “horrific act” in which Aidan died.

He said his client had expressed “regret, remorse and heartbreak”.

image source, Family flyer


Aidan Mann is concerned about Donnelly’s behavior

Det Insp Foreman said the “senseless” attack occurred early in the morning, “while members of the public were going about their business”.

The detective thanked those who ran to help Aidan and called emergency services.

“No words can undo the tragic events of that morning,” added Det Insp Foreman.

“Nothing can ease the pain and sadness of those who know and love Aidan, and my thoughts are with them deeply today.”

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