A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after two men were killed in Sligo, Ireland with an apparent homophobic motive.
The Irish Examiner reports that a man in his twenties was arrested on Wednesday morning (13 April) in connection with the deaths of Michael Snee, 58, and Aidan Moffitt, 42.
Snee was found dead in his home on Tuesday (12 April), while Moffit was found dead in his home on Monday night (11 April). Both men reportedly lived alone.
Snee had “been subject of a serious physical assault and had suffered significant injuries”, said Garda superintendent Aidan Glacken. Moffit’s body was described as “badly multilated” by the Irish press.
According to The Irish Independent, officers are allegedly investigating whether the killings were conducted by a person targeting men on dating apps.
Speaking at a press conference, Garda superintendent Aidan Glacken said: “Shortly after 1.30am this morning, a male in his early 20s was arrested for murder. This male remains in custody at Sligo Garda Station detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 and I cannot make any further comment on this part of the investigation.”
According to The Irish Times, Moffit worked in the property sector, and was a peace commissioner for his local area. His close friend Blaine Gaffney said he was an “all-round good guy”.
Gaffney told RTE: “It’s hard to believe what happened, and I’d be looking to speak about Aidan as the positive person he was, and remember Aidan for who he was and not what happened to him.”
Snee was described by a local as a quiet man who was always happy to help when needed.
“He was like a church mouse,” a neighbour told The Irish Independent. “You wouldn’t know he was there unless you went looking for him.
“But if you needed him he was there for you. How can anyone do something like that. It is the cruellest of cruel.
“Michael and Aidan were well known and respected in this community,” Glacken said.
“We continue to retain an open mind in this investigation.
“We are actively investigating as to whether there is any hate-related motive to these murders.”
He added that gardaí “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.”
Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he sent his “deepest sympathies” to the family and friends of Aidan Moffitt.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he was “shocked” and “worried” by the killings.
“I just really wanted to say, I’ve been speaking to some of our members in Sligo last night, and I just really wanted to say how shocked and how worried I am actually by the two murders that appeared to have occurred in Sligo over the last couple of days,” he told RTÉ.
Sligo Pride has issued a warning to those attending two Pride events over the weekend in light of the recent incidents, assuring attendees that it is looking into security at its event.
“If at all possible, do not walk home alone. If you cannot afford a taxi, please let a friend know when you have left a venue and when you’ve gotten home,” the organisation said on Twitter.“If you are meeting someone online in person for the first time, give a trusted friend as much information on this other person as you can and let your friend know where you are. We understand the worries and concerns at this time.”Gardai are appealing to “any person who may have been subject to any unwanted approaches or who was assaulted or otherwise attacked to contact the incident room at Sligo Garda station”.