A MAN whose body was found face down on a shingle beach was stabbed in the head with a sharp weapon.
The victim has been identified as a 44-year-old Lithuanian, who has been living here for the past four years.
But he is not being formally identified until gardai have contacted his family.
The man was unemployed and had been living in a Drogheda hostel. Gardai believe he was murdered in a row at Marsh Road on either Monday night or early yesterday morning.
His body was then taken to the beach at Mornington, Co Meath, where it was discovered at about 9am by a man walking his dog.
The victim was naked from the waist upwards and had several severe injuries to his head and shoulders. The killer blow was struck to his head with what was described as a "heavy, sharp instrument".
Officers said the sharp weapon had been used to inflict several of the injuries, including one which had severed part of an ear. Gardai believe his body was taken to the beach by a number of men after he had been killed following an argument at Marsh Road and thrown on to a stretch of shingles between Lady's Finger Tower and Mornington Tower.
It was quickly established that he had not been in the sea and the investigation switched to Marsh Road, when gardai found bloodstains in the area.
The two potential crime scenes were immediately sealed off for a forensic examination and the body was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital for a post-mortem examination by state pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy, which confirmed the victim had died from serious head wounds.
Gardai said the man was known to them but was not a serious criminal. They believe he was murdered because of a drunken row and are appealing to anybody who witnessed the incident to contact them.
Local people said they did not see or hear anything suspicious and when they saw the garda tape sealing off the entrance to the beach they were immediately reminded of the murder of Roy Coddington, who was shot after being lured to Mornington in 2007.
Mr Coddington, a 36-year-old father of three, was murdered by a drug-trafficking gang operating in north Dublin, Louth and Meath.
"It was like something out of 'Love/Hate', said Andrew McCartney, who lives in St Mary's Villas, near the beach.
"It is a quiet area and it is really unusual for this sort of thing to happen," he added.
A local woman said: "This used to be a village where everyone knew their neighbours. Not any more."
Last night, gardai appealed to anybody who was in the Mornington beach or Marsh Road areas between 10pm on Monday and 9am yesterday to contact them, either at the incident room at Laytown garda station, at 041-9813320, or on the confidential line, 1800-666111.