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Gardai probe ‘revenge’ motive for stab murder of sex offender in Monaghan

Christopher Mooney had a 2003 conviction for gross indecency for the abuse of a young boy.

The scene in Monaghan and (inset) Kieran Hamill

A forensic officer examines a car involved in a fatal accident at the Ballynacarry Bridge on the N53 in Co Monaghan on Thursday . Photo: Liam McBurney/PA© PA

Ali Bracken, Rodney Edwards and Alan

The murder of a convicted child sex abuser in Co Monaghan was a “revenge attack” linked to his crimes, gardaí believe.

It is believed there are two predominant garda lines of inquiry into the fatal stabbing – and both are linked to crimes or alleged crimes against children by murder victim and convicted sex offender Christopher Mooney (60).

Prime suspect Kieran Hamill (37), of Crossmaglen in Co Armagh, shouted “he had it coming” as he fled Mooney’s home in Broomfield, near Castleblayney, on Thursday morning.

Minutes later, Hamill was hit by a car and died. Gardaí are investigating whether he deliberately threw himself in front of the car in the aftermath of the murder, or whether his death was accidental as he was “in an agitated state”.

He was struck by the car as he made his way towards Ballynacarry Bridge, near the Border.

Sources say Mooney and Hamill were “known to one another, and that the younger man called into Mooney’s home.

The two predominant lines of garda inquiry focus on the sexual abuse of a child, as well as alleged abuse of another child, by Mooney.

The 60-year-old has a 2003 conviction for gross indecency for the abuse of a young boy.

Gardaí are examining if Hamill “is linked” to the child victim in this case.

However, there is a second major line of garda inquiry.

This also centres on alleged sexual abuse, in this instance unproven. It is understood gardaí are probing whether Mooney was killed over a “new allegation” that he abused another boy in recent times.

A source said: “There are two main lines of investigation. Both are linked to the sexual abuse of children.

“One is that he was killed over his sex abuse conviction in the early 2000s – that his attacker knows the victim in this case.

“But there is a second major line of inquiry, which is that it’s alleged that Mooney abused another boy more recently and he was stabbed because his killer knows this alleged victim.”

The source added: “Whatever way you look at it, the motive for this murder was a revenge attack.”

A forensic officer examines a car involved in a fatal accident at the Ballynacarry Bridge on the N53 in Co Monaghan on Thursday . Photo: Liam McBurney/PA© PA

It is understood a family of four, including children, were in the car that struck Hamill just minutes after he fled the murder scene.

Last night, gardaí said a post-mortem examination had been completed on Mooney but results would not be released for operational reasons.

Mooney had been targeted in 2014 in a vigilante-style attack linked to his offending. Two attackers broke into his home and held him captive for hours. It is understood he lived as a recluse since.

Hamill had previously come to police attention on both sides of the Border and had been investigated for violent crime. He was arrested and charged with assault causing harm to a woman in Dundalk last year and also faced charges of affray and threatening to damage a woman’s property.

He was due in court in two weeks in relation to the affray charge and in February over the assault charge.

Friends described the death of the father of two girls as “heart-breaking”. His death notice said funeral arrangements would be announced later.

“Deeply regretted by his heartbroken father, daughters, brother, sisters, brothers-in-law, Leanne, nephews, nieces, extended Hamill family, neighbours and many friends… Our Lady Queen of the Most Holy Rosary pray for him,” it read.

Friends posted tributes online. One wrote: “So heart-breaking. Sincere condolences to the Hamill family circle. Fly high with the angels, Kieran.”

There was no praise for Mooney in Broomfield, however. “You will not find anyone about here who will want to say anything about Mooney – he was a bad article,” said one local man, “Nobody will talk to you about him, nobody.”

At the dead man’s bungalow, the curtains were closed yesterday. A red van sat outside, with a wheelbarrow and a white bag filled with leaves nearby – a winter garden clean-up which will now not be finished. A farmer on a quad moved his herd of cows past the building while a garda looked on and forensics officers carried out their investigations.

Local councillor Aidan Campbell said: “People are in shock, they can’t believe this has happened and with weeks to go until Christmas. This is a tragedy for two families.”

On either side of the house are trees and fields – including one which leads to the road where Hamill died.

People gathered next door, where Mooney’s family live, some dressed in black.

On Thursday night, some of them had lined the road and prayed as his body was placed in the back of a hearse and taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

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