Gardai had warned murder victim about the company he kept
A 60-YEAR-OLD man who died after he was assaulted in his own home had been warned by gardai on several occasions about the company he was keeping, the Irish Independent has learned.
Cyril Moran (60) of River Road, Cartron Point, Sligo, died of head injuries following an assault in his rented accommodation in the early hours of Thursday morning.
A full-scale murder investigation was under way yesterday following the completion of a post mortem examination by deputy state pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis.
It emerged the openly gay man, who sold his family home in the town for a considerable sum of money some years ago, had become "a soft target" for alcohol and drug abusers in the town.
"He wasn't a bad person but he was an easy touch. Word went out that he was a soft target and all sorts of people were turning up at his house and getting money off him.
"He was good to them and he did not deserve this. Winos who had no place to stay would end up there," one neighbour said yesterday.
Gardai, who are investigating a possible homophobic link to the attack, had paid numerous visits to Mr Moran's house within the last 18 months, to warn him to be careful.
"He was loaning money all over the place. In some cases, he was loaning out thousands of euro. All his money was virtually gone in a few years.
"He would listen to what they (the gardai) had to say but he wouldn't take heed. He believed they would pay him back when they had the money," said a garda source.
Two local men in their late 20s, who were arrested separately over the weekend in connection with the attack, have been released without charge.
A file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
More details emerged yesterday about Mr Moran, whose life appeared to spiral out of control in recent years.
Prayers were said for him at yesterday morning's Mass at the Dominican Friary, where he had attended daily, by Fr Tim Mulcahy, who described him as "a nice quiet man".
Mr Moran worked as a clerk at the Snia nylon yarn manufacturing plant, which shut down in 1983.
He had also been a well- known figure around the town over the years for organising table quizzes and worked voluntarily for the Sligo-Leitrim underage soccer league.
But acquaintances say his demeanour changed in recent years following the death of his mother, who was a teacher.
"He would pass you by on the street without saying hello. It seemed he just became a real recluse," said one former quiz teammate.
The real turning point came when he put the family home on the market at the height of the boom and began living in rented accommodation, first in an apartment on the Riverside, and later in Cartron.
"I was shocked when I heard of all the drink and drugs parties going on at that house. It seems completely out of character for him to even be around anything like that.
"He was 100pc vulnerable," said a local man.
An injured Mr Moran was driven to Sligo General Hospital, where he was dropped off outside.
Gardai are studying CCTV footage of the car park to identify the motorist, who may prove to be a key witness.
Mr Moran walked into the hospital's Accident and Emergency department but his condition deteriorated over the following hours and he was placed on a life support machine.