horrific  | 

Murdered FG activist Aidan Moffitt may have been second victim of homophobic attacker

Gardaí believe the murder is linked to another attack in Sligo town over the weekend where a man lost an eye

Horror attack: Aidan Moffitt was brutally killed

Eavan Murray

Gardaí hunting the killer of businessman and Fine Gael activist Aidan Moffitt believe he was the second victim of a homophobic attacker.

The Sunday World can reveal gardaí believe the murder of Mr Moffitt is linked to another attack in Sligo town over the weekend where a man lost an eye.

The remains of Mr Moffitt (41) of Cartron Heights, Sligo town, were discovered at his home on Monday at 8.30pm.

Gardaí believe he was the victim of a hate crime motivated by homophobia.

Mr Moffitt, a peace commissioner, suffered horrific injuries and was badly mutilated during an attack which has stunned the community in Sligo and his native west Roscommon.

Mr Moffitt was the former Fine Gael constituency secretary for Sligo-Leitrim and he ran a successful auctioneering and financial service business.

He was originally from Lisacul, near Ballaghadereen in Co Roscommon.

Gardaí believe Mr Moffitt arranged to meet his killer at his home, having initially made contact through a dating app.

In the other incident, in the early hours of last Saturday, a man in his early 40s was brutally attacked by another man in the Racecourse area of Sligo town. It is understood the victim of that assault was stabbed in the face and subsequently lost an eye.

Sources say Mr Moffitt was last seen shortly after 4pm on Sunday when he left The Village Inn in Cartron. It is understood he walked the short distance home to Cartron Heights, where he met his killer by arrangement. It is not thought they were known to each other before meeting.

Mr Moffitt was last active on his phone at 4.30pm on Sunday. Last night, a picture of Mr Moffitt and a candle were placed inside the front door of The Village Inn pub, where Mr Moffitt was a regular customer.

After the alarm was raised on Monday evening, emergency services rushed to the property, but it was clear the victim was deceased, and the scene was preserved and sealed off.

The brutality of the crime and the level of violence inflicted on Mr Moffitt has shocked investigators.

It is understood first responders found the scene “highly distressing”.

Flowers left outside the home at Cartron Heights, Sligo of Mr Aidan Moffitt who was found brutally murdered. Pic: Donal Hackett.

Mr Moffitt was devoted to his mother Kathleen, who has suffered ill-health in recent years and spent several nights every week at home with her in Roscommon.

His father passed away nearly 10 years ago, and he is survived by two brothers and a sister.

Blaine Gaffney, a Fine Gael community activist and close friend of Mr Moffitt, described him as “generous, kind and funny”.

“He was intelligent, cunning and funny. But a really nice sociable, and friendly guy.

“He would do more for you than you would for yourself.

“I know people say these types of things about people at these times, but it couldn’t be more true about Aidan. He was an all-around good guy. He had a heart of gold.

“He loved a tipple, and he loved his horses. He was really very witty and funny and so intelligent.

“It doesn’t add up. He is not a man that would have any enemies. He is not a man that would have anyone out to hurt him. It’s shocking and heartbreaking.”

Gardaí outside the home of the late Aidan Moffitt at Cartron Heights. Pic: Donal Hackett.

Another local businessman who had carried out work for Mr Moffitt described him as a “mild-mannered and gentle type of guy.”

“He wouldn’t be the type of guy to have a row with anyone.

“It’s very hard to see how anyone could have a problem with him. It’s horrific.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar yesterday paid tribute to Mr Moffitt. “I wish to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Aidan Moffitt,” he said.

State Pathologist Sally Anne Collis travelled to Sligo yesterday and carried out a post-mortem examination on Mr Moffitt’s remains.

A Garda spokesperson appealed for information, asking people to be contact Sligo garda station at 071 9157088, the Garda Confidential Line phone number 1800 666 111, or any garda station. Gardaí also issued a warning for people to remain vigilant when meeting people they encounter online.

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