Funerals of Monaghan sex offender and murder suspect take place today

Christopher Mooney (60) was killed at his home outside Castleblayney in Co Monaghan early on Thursday morning.

Conor Feehan and Patrick O'ConnellIndependent.ie

The funerals of a murdered convicted sex offender and the man suspected of killing him are due to take place a short distance from each other on both sides of the Border at the same time this morning.

Christopher Mooney (60) was killed at his home outside Castleblayney in Co Monaghan early on Thursday morning.

He had been jailed for sexual offences against a male juvenile 19 years ago and had been shunned by many in the local community as a result.

Around eight years ago, he was targeted in his home in an apparent vigilante attack after two men broke into his home.

Half an hour after the fatal attack on Thursday another man, Kieran Hamill (37) from Armagh, was knocked down and killed 3km away while crossing Ballynacarry Bridge between Castleblayney and Dundalk.

Kieran Hamill was hit by a car

The main line of inquiry is that Hamill attacked Mooney and was disturbed in doing so when Mooney’s brother arrived. This man was able to give gardaí a description of the suspect, sources have said.

It is believed Hamill fled the scene on foot and was knocked down during his attempt to escape across the border.

But forensic confirmation will be needed before gardaí can say definitively that Hamill was the man who attacked Mooney.

Sources have said there is no evidence that Mooney had sexually assaulted Hamill as a minor.

However, as part of the investigation, detectives will examine if Hamill had been suffering from mental health issues in recent months.

He had come to the attention of gardaí in the last 12-18 months, including in relation to violent offences.

The scene near Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, where gardaí have been trying to establish if the deaths of two men in separate incidents are linked

Hamill was charged with affray at an address in Castleblayney last May and was to appear in court on that charge later this month.

He was also before the courts charged with assault causing harm to a female and threatening a woman’s property on December 26 last year.

He was due to appear in court again on those charges in February next year.

The funeral of the father of two is due to take place at St Patrick’s Church in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, this morning at 11am.

At the same time the funeral of Christopher Mooney is due to take place in St Patrick’s Church in Broomfield, near Castleblayney.

Mooney is pre-deceased by both his parents, and survived by a brother and sister, and wider family.

Gardaí have continued gathering forensic evidence at Mooney’s home, and have also examined a red van in the driveway which appeared to have its windscreen caved inwards and scorch marks above the fuel tank in an apparent attempt to set it on fire.

Blood stains and forensic markings could be seen on the front door of the house and members of the Garda Technical Bureau examined and photographed the scene.

Gardaí continue to appeal for witnesses, and for anyone who was in the Broomfield area between 5am and 6.45am on Thursday, December 1, to come forward.

They can contact Castleblayney garda station on 042 9740668 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111.

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