A man charged with two murders that are suspected to have been homophobic hate crimes is set to appear before Sligo District Court, today, Thursday, April 21 via video link. Yousef Palani of Markievicz Heights is accused of killing Aidan Moffitt in his home in Carton Heights, and Michael Snee in similar circumstances at the deceased’s apartment in City View.
The 22 year-old has also been charged with assault causing serious harm to another man, Anthony Burke, who was stabbed in the face in the Racecourse area of the town, losing an eye as a result of the incident. All three crimes took place between April 9 and April 12, with Palani having been arrested on April 13, and formally charged a day later.
It is suspected that the accused who will appear in court today used gay dating apps to gain access to both Moffitt and Snee’s Sligo homes, where he then committed the murders. Separate funerals were held in Roscommon and Sligo respectively on Monday, where moving tributes were paid to the victims.
We’re at the Kildare St vigil with our #LGBTQ community at this most painful, frightening time. Sending solidarity and love to all gathering across the country at similar vigils to mark the tragic deaths of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee 💔 pic.twitter.com/qtEBQMSQQX
— Gay Community News (@GCNmag) April 15, 2022
He first appeared before a special sitting of the court, including Judge Sandra Murphy, last Thursday, April 14, and has been remanded in custody since. His solicitor, Mr Gerard McGovern has requested that his client be put on suicide watch and be urgently psychiatrically assessed by a psychiatrist attached to the prison service or the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, Dublin.
In reference to the case, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee stated: “These are incidents that we thought were behind us.” She continued, “I just want to reassure people that any crimes that are motivated by hate or by prejudice or by discrimination, will not be tolerated and will carry higher sentences. I hope to introduce the hate crime bill in a matter of weeks to respond.”
We've now had a double murder in Sligo, a gay man beaten up in Dublin, A nonbinary person murdered up the north, a trans man with his ribs broken in Dundalk and trans woman attacked in Cork all within the past year. This is horrific!
— Lilith Ferreyra-Carroll (@trasinscneach) April 13, 2022
Palani’s court appearance occurs on the same day that another tragic crime has been reported in Sligo. It has emerged that a 39 year-old man has died following a serious assault that took place at Rockwood Parade shortly after 5PM on Tuesday.
The victim was treated at the scene for an apparent head injury, and was then taken to Sligo University Hospital, and subsequently Beamount Hospital in Dublin, where he died earlier this morning.
Gardaí are treating the death as suspicious, and no arrests have been made as officials appeal for witnesses. There is nothing yet to suggest that the incident is linked to the three crimes that occurred between April 9 and April 12, and anyone with information should contact Sligo Garda Station on 071 9157000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any garda station.
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