Suspect in gruesome Sligo murders may have embarked on homophobic rampage, police say

Man held on suspicion of murder after two suspected homophobic killings in Sligo

Ireland’s police force believe that a suspect in the barbaric murders of two gay men in Sligo, Ireland, may have been planning on killing further victims.

The town of Sligo was left reeling this week after gay men Michael Snee, 58, and Aidan Moffitt, 42, were both found dead in their own homes.

Moffitt was an auctioneer and Fine Gael activist and peace commissioner, whose body was discovered on Monday night (11 April), having been severely mutilated.

Snee, a retired healthcare worker who lived alone with his dog and loved gardening, was found on Tuesday (12 April).

The next morning, a man in his twenties was arrested in connection with the murders, and police now believe he was planning to target further gay victims in Sligo.

According to The Irish Examiner, Gardaí believe that the suspect could have previously attempted violent attacks, and are investigating whether he could have been planning further crimes.

He reportedly met his alleged victims through dating apps and authorities will be studying his online history.

Chief superintendent Aidan Glacken appealed to the public to report any assaults or incidents to Sligo Garda Station, saying in a statement: “I have a dedicated diversity team here, we need to hear from you. We are here to listen to you and we are here to support you.

“No matter how insignificant you think it may be, we need to hear from you.”

The suspect will either be released or charged on Thursday (14 April).

In a statement, Paula Fagan, CEO of LGBT Ireland said: “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. Our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.

“These devastating crimes bring to the fore the need for comprehensive Hate Crime legislation, and I – along with other sectoral representatives – will be speaking with lawmakers over the coming days to stress the need for them to redouble their efforts and 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.”

Fagan emphasised that the “focus of recent events must remain firmly on the perpetrators of violence against LGBTI+ people”, and added: “These crimes are on the extreme end of a spectrum of violence experienced by the LGBTI+ community and highlight the vulnerabilities and very real fears of the wider community.”

LGBT Ireland suspects that many LGBT+ hate crime victims do not report hate crimes to the Gardaí because of fear of discrimination, and said that its helpline was available for those impacted by the recent horrific events.

According to The Irish Examiner, vigils have been planned to honour Moffitt and Snee across Ireland over the weekend.