Officials believe two men who were murdered and mutilated in Sligo, Ireland in recent days were killed in separate attacks by a man they met on an online dating app.
A man was arrested on Tuesday and remains in custody following the murder of Michael Snee and Aidan Moffitt, who were both found dead in their separate homes in the same town of Sligo, Ireland this week.
The victims – Snee, 58, and Moffitt, 42 – are both said to have lived alone and been “well known and respected” in the small community of Sligo, which has a population of around only 20,000 residents.
Moffit was found dead in his home on Monday night (11 April), while Snee was found dead at his residence a day later on Tuesday (12 April). Both had been mutilated and sustained similar injuries, although Gardaí, the Irish police, said the wounds inflicted on the second victim were not as extreme, according to The Irish Times. .
Snee had “been subject of a serious physical assault and had suffered significant injuries”, said Garda superintendent Aidan Glacken, while Moffit’s body was described as “badly mutilated”, reports The Irish Examiner.
Detectives are also examining a third incident at Cleveragh Road in Sligo during the early hours of Saturday (9 April), in which a man in his 40s was stabbed in his eye during a viscous assault.
The victim was taken to Sligo University Hospital for treatment on non life-threatening injuries, but lost his eye as a result of the attack, according to reports. It is not yet known if this attack is related to the two murders.
Officials believe that the two murdered victims may have been killed by a man they met on an online dating app and are said to be examining whether there is a homophobic motive for their murders.
According to The Irish Times, Moffit was described by friends as “all-round good guy” who worked in the property sector and as a peace commissioner for his local area.
While Snee was described by another resident as “a quiet man who was always happy to help when needed”.
“Michael and Aidan were well known and respected in this community,” Ch Supt Aidan Glacken told reporters on Wednesday.
“They were assaulted and murdered in their own homes. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this time and indeed their friends and the wider community in Sligo.”
He added: “We continue to explore all the circumstances of these cases and are examining another recent incident which occurred in the Sligo area.
“We are actively investigating as to whether there is any hate-related motive to these murders.
“An Garda Síochána will endeavour to seek out all the available evidence, and ultimately it will be for a court to decide on the motivation behind these appalling crimes.”
“I am appealing to any person who may have been subject of any unwanted approaches or who was assaulted or otherwise attacked to contact the incident room at Sligo Garda Station.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this time and indeed their friends and the wider community in Sligo.”
The organisers of Sligo Pride issued a warning to people attending the Pride events scheduled to take place in the town during April, “urging members of our community to take extra precautions”.
Following recent events in both Dublin and Sligo, we are urging members of our community to take extra precautions, especially if attending Pink Friday in @swagmanbarsligo this Friday or our Rainbow Ball event in @claytonsligo next Saturday.
— Sligo Pride (@sligopride) April 13, 2022
Sligo is said to be among the smallest towns in the world with an annual Pride parade.
Just days earlier, over in Dublin, a savage homophobic attack left a young man hospitalised and with serious injuries.
LGBT Ireland said the devastating crimes against the LGBTI+ community in recent days have brought to the fore the need for comprehensive Hate Crime legislation.
The group said in a statement that they intend to speak with lawmakers over the coming days to ensure the forthcoming legislation is effective, comprehensive, and enacted with urgency.
“The LGBTI+ community has the right to feel and be safe on our streets and online,” said CEO Paula Fagan.
“This has been a dark week for the LGBTI+ community in Ireland. We are still reeling from the vicious homophobic assault on Dame Street in Dublin in recent days and, now, we are deeply saddened by events in Sligo.”
LGBT Ireland Statement:https://t.co/dgcp7ojv9D
— LGBT Ireland (@LGBT_ie) April 13, 2022
TW: Three extreme hate crimes within a week. I would encourage anyone in the LGBTQI community to contact Gardaí if they have been attacked* or have information after reviewing the below options.
You can contact Sligo Gardaí on 071-9157000 or the Garda LGBTQI contacts below. https://t.co/vXbYq0tgI6
— Dr Robert Bohan Artist (@RobertBohan) April 13, 2022