The bodies of two men have been found with ‘gruesome’ injuries in their homes, sparking a double murder investigation with a possible homophobic motive.

Aidan Moffitt, 41, and Michael Snee, 58, from Sligo, Ireland, were found dead on Monday and Tuesday respectively and police have arrested a 22-year-old suspect.

Garda, the Irish police, are now probing whether the killer met his victims on a dating app, and whether the killings were homophobic in nature, and constitute a hate crime.

A third man also reportedly came forward claiming he was attacked where he lost an eye, with police fearing that the incidents could be the work of a serial killer.

Armed cops arrested the suspect yesterday in co-ordinated raids, and are believed to have found him praying when they burst through the door at 1.45am.

Michael Snee, 58, was found dead in his own home at around 10.30pm on Tuesday evening

Aidan was last seen alive on Sunday afternoon, with cops discovering his body on Monday at around 8.30pm

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Officers have confirmed that the auctioneer suffered “significant injuries” to the body and neck.

Michael’s mutilated remains were then found at his apartment by officers at 10.30pm on Tuesday evening.

Speaking about the incidents on Thursday morning, the Irish Tanaiste – deputy leader – Mr Varadkar said he had known Aidan Moffitt through his activity within Fine Gael as an activist.

The Fine Gael leader extended his condolences to the families of both men and said people in Sligo are “really shocked and really devastated”.

“Another man in Sligo was attacked too and has lost his eye so this is really gruesome stuff,” said Mr Varadkar.

Gardai remove the body of Michael Snee from his home in Connaughton Road, Sligo
Gardai remove the body of Michael Snee from his home in Connaughton Road, Sligo

Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken said: “Michael and Aidan were well known and respected in this community.

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“They were assaulted and murdered in their own homes. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this time and indeed their friends and the wider community in Sligo.

“We continue to retain an open mind in this investigation. I continue to appeal to the ­public for their assistance in that regard.

“We are actively investigating as to whether there is any hate related motive to these murders.

“Gardaí are also investigating whether Michael and Aidan met their attacker online.”

The Chief Superintendent appealed to any person who may have been subject of any unwanted approaches or who was assaulted or otherwise attacked to come forward.

Police continue to search for forensic evidence at the scene of both murders today.

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

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Sligo-Leitrim TD (Teachta Dála, member of Irish parliament) Frank Feighan, a close friend of Mr Moffitt, said a “cloud of worry and fear” now hung over the town.

He added: “The community is stunned. The last few days had brought huge concern to the area.

“People were trying to come to terms with what had happened — the murders of two men and the other attack in which a man was so badly beaten that he lost an eye.

“The level of violence is absolutely shocking. It is something that Sligo is not used to.”

Senior officers are still keeping an “open mind” on the two cases and are investigating if there was any connection between the attacks and a serious assault on a local barman, in his forties, in the town last Saturday.

It is believed this victim had his eye gouged but managed to fight off his attacker. He has been released from hospital and is back living at home.

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