Sunday 20 October 2019

Young man murdered in 'random and unprovoked' attack at his home

Tributes have been paid to 'very decent' young man Jimmy Loughlin (20)

Jimmy Loughlin (inset) was found dead at a house in Sligo
Jimmy Loughlin (inset) was found dead at a house in Sligo

Robin Schiller and Ian Begley

A YOUNG man who was beaten to death with a wheel brace in his home was targeted in a “random and unprovoked” attack, gardaí believe.

Jimmy Loughlin (20) was found with serious injuries at the rented property on Connolly Street, Sligo, shortly after 1.30pm on Saturday.

The tragic victim, who has been described as a “very decent” young man, was  pronounced dead at the scene.

A source told the Irish Independent a man walked up to the house holding a wheel brace and proceeded to smash the front door windows.

“When (Jimmy) came out to see what was happening the suspect attacked him with the weapon.

“This appears to be a completely random and unprovoked attack,” the source said.

The murder suspect then fled to a nearby apartment before gardaí were called to the scene.

CCTV footage obtained by investigators shows the suspect passing a mother and child as he leaves the scene, but he did not confront them.

Gardaí received reports that a “serious incident” had occurred involving an armed man, and members of the Regional Support Unit (RSU) were requested to attend the scene.

Uniformed gardaí were first to arrive at the property and managed to arrest the suspect.

The 31-year-old man was then brought to Ballymote garda station.

He is due to appear before Donegal Town District Court this morning at 10.30am to be charged in connection with the murder.

A post-mortem was carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan at Sligo University Hospital yesterday afternoon.

The results have not been released for operational reasons, but it is understood that the examination confirmed that Mr Loughlin was the victim of a violent assault.

Staff at the McDonald’s outlet where he worked since 2014 have expressed their shock at the murder.

The restaurant’s manager Leo McNamara said: “He had a great sense of humour and everyone loved working with him as he lifted their day with his fun personality.

“If you knew you were working with Jimmy, you knew you would end up laughing regardless of what mood you were in.”

Franchisee Richard McNamara added that they were ‘shocked and saddened’ at Jimmy’s killing and that their thoughts were with his family and friends.

Fr Vincent Connaughton, of St Mary’s Church, Ballintogher, described the tragedy as a “terrible loss to the community”.

“I visited his family this morning. On behalf of the community we extend our sincerest and heartfelt sympathies to his parents, three sisters, his grandparents and wide circle of friends.

“They’re very much in our prayers at this time,” he said.

Many locals of the area said the randomness of the attack was very frightening.

One woman said: “It could have happened to anyone.

“It’s terrifying that you could be just randomly attacked in the middle of the day for no reason at all.

“I heard he [Jimmy] was such a nice young man and it’s just so cruel that he had to die in this way.”

A school friend of Mr Loughlin, who did not want to be named, said: “I lost contact with Jimmy when he left school, but I knew him as a lovely, popular guy.

“It’s so sad what happened and everyone is really upset. I just couldn’t believe it when I found out.

“He was always so kind to me.”

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