Investigation into Sligo murders focusing on suspect's online dating history

Although Gardaí have launched two separate murder investigations, one line of inquiry is that they are linked.
Investigation into Sligo murders focusing on suspect's online dating history

David Young, PA

Updated at 1.25pm

A man remains in custody as Gardaí investigate the murders of two men who detectives believe may have met their killer online.

Gardaí are conducting two separate murder inquiries after the violent deaths of Aidan Moffitt, 42, and Michael Snee, 58, in the town of Sligo on the west coast.

Both men were found dead in their own homes this week having suffered extensive injuries. Garda investigations are currently focusing on the online dating history of a suspect.

Detectives are investigating a potential homophobic motive and have issued safety advice to people using dating apps.

The suspect, in his 20s, was arrested on suspicion of murder after the discovery of Mr Snee’s body in his apartment in Connaughton Road at around 10.30pm on Tuesday.

The man, who was detained in Sligo town at around 1.45am on Wednesday, remained in custody on Thursday. Detectives can question him for a total of 24 hours, excluding breaks.

Mr Moffitt’s body was discovered in his house in Cartron Heights at around 8.30pm on Monday.

Gardai remove the body of Michael Snee from his home in Connaughton Road, Sligo, Ireland, following his murder. Photo: PA Images.

Gardaí are also investigating a third recent incident in the Sligo area as part of the murder investigations.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Garda Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken said gardai were keeping an “open mind” about motivation.

“We are actively investigating as to whether there is any hate-related motive to these murders,” he said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and other Government Ministers have condemned the murders and LGBT Ireland, a support service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, has expressed shock and concern.

Vigils for the two victims have been planned in Sligo, Dublin and several other cities across Ireland on Friday evening.

Sligo Pride voiced shock and devastation at the murders.

“Our condolences go out to the friends and families of the victims,” the group said in a statement.

“We want them to know that we as a community are here for them, and we will not stand for this. Hate-based violence has no place in today’s society.

“While we stress the importance of personal safety, we feel it is critical to emphasise that the problem lies with the perpetrators, not the victims.

“We have seen a disturbing increase in hate-based violence and harassment in Sligo in recent years. A hate crime is not just an isolated act of violence, it is a signpost to a whole community that says ‘you are not welcome’.

“We are in the process of organising a vigil for the recent victims tomorrow at 6pm outside the Town Hall. We hope this will provide an opportunity for people to grieve and mourn the loss of Aidan and Michael.”

Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan, who knew Mr Moffitt through political activism, said the community were horrified at the deaths of both men, who he described as well respected.

“Aidan was a member of Fine Gael, he was a great worker for Fine Gael and was always great fun. He canvassed for every candidate and everyone who knew Aidan really enjoyed his company.

“He came from a very well respected and liked family and people are shocked and people are saddened by events over the last few days,” he told PA.

“It’s been a huge tragedy.

“Sligo is a quiet town and the residential areas are hugely respectful, but unfortunately events like this come to your town, and it’s very difficult to deal with. The horrific nature of these murders has really dug deep into people.

“People want to show solidarity at the deaths of two men who were so respected and so well liked.”

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