| 16.5°C Dublin

'serial killer' probe Gardaí now looking for more possible victims in horrific Sligo murder case

  • Body of Michael Snee was discovered at his home by two teenage nieces who called to check on him
  • Gardaí became so concerned other men may have been targeted by a serial killer that they searched missing person records in the western region
  • Investigating gardaí believe both Mr Snee and Mr Moffitt had been active users of a gay ­dating app
  • ‘It is just beyond belief’ – parish priest

Close

Sligo murders

Sligo murders

Aidan Moffitt

Aidan Moffitt

Gardaí forensic officers collect evidence in a field near the scene in Connaughton Road, Sligo

Gardaí forensic officers collect evidence in a field near the scene in Connaughton Road, Sligo

f

f

/

Sligo murders

Gardaí are looking for more possible victims following the discovery of a second murdered man in Sligo in just over 24 hours.

There is a fear that other men may have been attacked, stalked or harassed but are too afraid to come forward to report it.

Following the discovery of the mutilated remains of Aidan Moffitt (41) on Monday night and the body of Michael Snee (58) a day later, gardaí became so concerned other men may have been targeted by a serial killer that they searched missing person records in the western region covering the past several years.

A 22-year-old suspect was arrested in the early hours of yesterday. Gardaí have since deployed major resources to identify who the suspect has been in contact with to ensure no other victims are unaccounted for.

Following his arrest, the suspect made comments that gave rise to fears there had been another murder, but all enquiries to date have failed to support that.

The teenage nieces of Michael Snee were the people who made the horrific discovery of the 58-year-old’s brutally injured remains at his home on Tuesday night.

It is understood both girls, aged in their late teens, visited Mr Snee’s home in the City View estate in Sligo town after he failed to reply to text messages and telephone calls from members of his family.

Gardaí investigating the horrific murders continue to question a male suspect.

It is understood gardaí have deployed huge resources to identify who the suspect has been in contact with, to ensure no other potential victims are unaccounted for.

Investigating gardaí believe both Mr Snee and Mr Moffitt, who was found dead at 8.30pm on Monday at his home in Cartron Heights, Sligo town, had been active users of a gay ­dating app.

Gardaí believe Mr Snee was killed between 4pm and 6pm on Tuesday, a number of hours before they announced that the “unexplained death” of Mr Moffitt had been upgraded to a murder inquiry.

It is understood gardaí grew so concerned over the possibility the men had been targeted by a serial killer that they trawled missing person records in the western region over the past number of years.

At this point they do not believe there are any other victims unidentified.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

However, there is concern other men may have been attacked, stalked or harassed – and are too fearful of coming forward to report the incidents.

One source said that, following his arrest, the suspect made comments that gave rise to fears there was potentially another murder – but all enquiries to date have proven otherwise.

It is understood the suspect has no previous convictions and before his arrest he was not known to officers for involvement in extremist or any other type of crime.

It is understood gardaí are working on the basis the two killings are linked and also related to a separate attack in the early hours of Saturday morning in which another man was stabbed and seriously injured.

Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken appealed for anyone with information to come ­forward.

“We continue to retain an open mind in this investigation. I would like to thank the community for their co-­operation and assistance so far. Information received from across the community continues to assist us in our investigation,” he said.

“It is indeed heartening to see such cross-community support at this time. However, I continue to appeal to the public for their assistance in that regard. We’re also actively investigating whether there is a hate-related motive to these murders.”

He appealed to anyone who may have been approached or assaulted in recent days to contact the incident room at Sligo garda station.

“An Garda Síochána will endeavour to seek out all of the available evidence – and ultimately it will be a matter for a court to decide on the motivation behind these appalling crimes,” he said.

“Gardaí are also investigating whether Michael and Aidan met their attacker online. Meeting people online is a normal activity. It should be a safe activity – but, as with any online activity, everybody should be aware of personal safety advice which we provide on our website,” Supt Glacken said.

Last night, Fr Noel Rooney, parish priest of St Joseph’s and Calry, described the tragic events as “beyond belief”.

“We had mass yesterday, and we prayed for Aidan. Then this morning, we prayed for Michael. It is just beyond belief,” Fr Rooney said.

“You wouldn’t always know people in a big parish, but I knew Michael and Aidan. I did Michael’s mother’s funeral a few years ago, and that’s how I came to know him.

“Aidan, if you met him, he could be very chatty, or he could be very quiet, but that’s the way he was.

“And Michael was just a ­gentle soul, and that’s the way he was.

“So why anyone would want to do anything to these two lads is totally beyond belief. And the fact it happened twice in 24 hours is also beyond belief. In a strange quirk of fate, the first time I thought I met Aidan was in a pub here in this parish.

“But it turns out I was wrong. Aidan was able to tell me I had carried him around the kitchen of his parents’ house when he was just one year of age.

“And I was curate in Lisacul at that time, so it was true.

“It’s the way life can sometimes be. When he said it to me, I couldn’t believe it. And here we are now.”

“It’s strange that I should be in the story of his life at the beginning and the end,” said the shocked priest.

“Michael was very close to his family, and he was very close to his nieces and nephews.

“All we can do is offer whatever support we can and be there for them. Because they are devastated.

“It’s Holy Week, the week of the crucifixion, and this is definitely a crucifixion for these two families.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy