Man charged with brutal murder of two gay men in Ireland and assault on another
Yousef Palani, 22, has been charged with the murder of two gay men and assaulting another in County Sligo, Ireland.
Palani appeared in Sligo district court Thursday afternoon (14 April), charged with the murders of Aidan Moffitt, 41, and Michael Snee, 58.
Moffitt, a local auctioneer, and Snee, a retired healthcare worker, were killed in their homes only one kilometre apart from one another.
They both suffered “significant” injuries, said An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s police force, with the murders thought to have been motivated by homophobia.
Palani, whose address was given as Markievicz Heights, remained silent during the special court sitting as he was also charged with assault causing serious harm to another man, Anthony Burke, on Saturday.
Crowds of heckling people, photographers and gardaí gathered outside the courthouse as Palani arrived via police van, the BBC reported.
During the brief hearing before Judge Sandra Murphy, detective Gary Connelly was met with silence from the defendant as he read out the assault charge.
Connelly listed the two murder charges in front of relatives of the murder victims and the assaulted man. Pani was cautioned only to reply: “No, I understand, Gary.”
Defending solicitor Gerry McGovern told judge Murphy there would be no application for bail and urged Palani to be placed on suicide watch.
“This is quite an urgent case,” McGovern said, adding that the defendant needs immediate psychiatric assessment.
Judge Murphy granted his request as well as a request for free legal aid for Palani, given that he is unemployed.
Palani was remanded in custody at Castlerea Prison and will appear at Sligo district court via video uplink on 21 April.
Police believe that the suspect was planning further attacks on LGBT+ people in Sligo, in the north of Ireland.
It’s thought that met his victims on dating apps.
The murders of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee have shuddered fear throughout Ireland’s LGBT+ community and calls for the government to take action.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was “deeply concerned” by the brutality.
Snee’s neighbour told The Irish Independent his murder had “horrified” the community.
“How can anyone do something like that? It is the cruellest of cruel.”
If you have been affected by the issues raised in this story you can contact Ireland’s National LGBT Helpline for free on 1800 929 539.
Readers in the UK affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans free on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.