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Gardaí examine if Sligo killing had hate-related motive and whether victim met attacker online


A murder investigation has been launched following the discovery of a man’s body on Monday night.

Auctioneer Aidan Moffitt’s body was discovered by gardaí at his house at Cartron Heights in Sligo at around 8.30pm.

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Mr Moffitt had sustained savage physical injuries.

Gardaí are actively investigating whether there is any hate-related motive to the murder.

They are also investigating whether Mr Moffitt met his attacker online.

The scene at the house remains preserved this evening as the Garda Technical Bureau continue to conduct technical and forensic examinations.

Mr Moffitt’s body has been removed from the house and taken to University Hospital Sligo where a post mortem will take place, conducted by State Pathologist, Sally Anne Collis.

Gardaí are appealing for any person with information to the murder to make contact with them.

Door-to-door enquires were carried out around the estate on Tuesday and CCTV from houses directly across from the victim’s house was removed by detectives. They are also believed to be trawling CCTV footage taken from at least three security cameras at Mr Moffitt’s home, where he lived alone.

Any person who was in the Cartron Heights or general Cartron area on the afternoon on Monday, April 11 up until 8.30pm and who saw anything which drew their attention is asked to contact investigating Gardaí.

Mr Moffitt was last seen alive at approximately 4.30pm on Sunday afternoon in his local pub, The Village Inn, just around the corner from his estate. 

It is feared he may have granted entry to his home to someone he had previously met online. There were no signs of forced entry into his home.

Locals had last evening put framed photos of the victim upon a table beside a candle at the entrance to The Village Inn.

“He was a highly educated man. He used to work in the financial services and then he set up his own auctioneering business,” said local Pat Devaney.

“You could approach Aidan about anything. If you wanted to sell a bit of land or buy a bit of land. He had loads of friends here and in Roscommon. Sligo people accepted him. He organised trips to the greyhound racing, he’d organised hotels, he was the ringleader. The man to go to.”

“He would take on board the organising of the whole thing. We spoke to Aidan last Friday, Saturday and on Sunday morning I was in the shop getting the paper and I met him. He was a very well-read man. He was in excellent form. My wife and I are devastated. He was a great all-rounder. He was a good guy,” added Pat.

Another local who knew Aidan from his occasional visits to The Village Inn is nearby St Joseph’s parish priest Fr Noel Rooney, who told The Irish Examiner a quirk of fate led both men together: “He came up to me when he first arrived in Sligo several years ago and told me I had carried him on my shoulders as a child.” 

“Sure enough, I thought back and I was indeed a young curate in Aidan’s home parish of Lisacul back in the early 1980s,” he said.

Fr Rooney was in the bar on Monday evening when word came through of Mr Moffitt’s sudden death. 

“Initially you don’t believe it. We’re deeply shocked. He was a chatty friendly guy. It’s a crucifixion for his family this week,” he added.

Investigating Gardaí can be contacted at a dedicated phone number at the incident room in Sligo Garda Station at 071 9157088, the Garda Confidential Line phone number 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

An Garda Síochána are providing members of the public with advice when speaking with or intending to meet up with persons they have met online.

The advice includes:

Get a face picture from the person you intend to meet. Be very cautious of a person who doesn’t share a recent face picture with you, particularly after you have shared yours.

If they don’t want to share a face picture, consider asking them to go on a live video call (many apps have this option built in so you don’t have to share your mobile number).

Ask for their social media handles. Do you have friends in common on Instagram or Facebook? Be wary of new accounts with low follower count and few posts.

Let friends know where you’re going – send a text to a trusted friend or in a group chat, include your live location so you can be found if you need help.

Meet in a public place first. Take a few minutes to chat and feel confident you want to proceed before going somewhere private.

Think before accepting food or drink. Unless you’ve seen them prepare it – it’s best not to accept to avoid being spiked.

If an emergency unfolds, call 999. If something happens – report it.

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