They say people were one in a million, well Aidan was one in a trillion

They say people were one in a million, well Aidan was one in a trillion

12 January 2022

THE brother of the young man murdered on a Downpatrick street 

last week described him as “one in a trillion” at his funeral on Monday.

Talented tattoo artist Aidan Mann was buried with his grandmother in his home town of Bangor.

The 28 year-old had only been living in Downpatrick for a few weeks before a man attacked him with two kitchen knives close to his Church Street home in broad daylight

Paramedics tried in vain to save the young man’s life but he died at the scene.

The fatal stabbing was witnessed by horrified bystanders, including four men who wrestled the attacker to the ground around 11am to disarm him.

A 36 year-old man, Barry Donnelly, who also has an address in Church Street, was charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday.

The court heard from a defence solicitor that the defendant would not be seeking bail and had “made admissions and expressed remorse for this actions”. 

He was remanded into custody ahead of his next court appearance at a date to be fixed.

Mr Mann was known in the tattoo community as Zen Black and was a sought-after specialist artist in Irezumi, a Japanese style of hand tattooing. He was working at Sailors and Scoundrels in Newtownards before his death.

Mr Mann’s body was carried to the funeral in a black horse-drawn hearse. A spray of deep red flowers were placed on top of the black coffin.

His brother, Lewis, paid him an emotional tribute at the humanist service.

He told mourners: “They say people were one in a million, well Aidan was one in a trillion.

“He was my protector, he was my older brother...we done so much together and we had so much planned together.

“I told everybody that I knew that I didn’t care if they liked tattooing or not, Aidan was the best tattooist in Northern Ireland and I was so proud, I still am, so proud of him.”

He added: “He built me up to be the person that I am and I’ll continue to try and adapt some of Aidan’s mannerisms, but nobody could.”

He talked of his brother’s gentle nature and love of nature and how he would cry if any animal, even a wasp, was hurt in front of him. 

“He was a big gentle soul, me and my brother had a bond and I loved him very much,” continued Lewis Mann.

“We had so much planned together, but he’s getting a beautiful send off with beautiful people and beautiful friends.”

One of Mr Mann’s friends organised a crowdfunding appeal to help pay for his funeral. It has raised over £7,200 to date.

The friend wrote on the JustGiving appeal: “Aidan was one of the most interesting, caring and passionate humans about. An accomplished artist in many forms but most notably tattooing. 

“People say it was talent and Aidan did make it look easy but there was a lot of hard work, studying and practise that went on behind the scenes.

“Although one of the best tattooists in Northern Ireland, Aidan remained humble. Always willing to teach or help others and share knowledge. The tattoo community has lost a legend.

“Aidan dedicated their life to art and will now live on forever through it.”

Memorial events were organised by Mr Mann’s friends from the car group, Underground, including in Belfast on Friday night and at Nutt’s Corner on Sunday.