The simple twist of fate that contributed to Yosuke's knife attack death in Dundalk
The young Japanese man randomly stabbed to death in Dundalk on Wednesday had decided to take a different route home from work for the first time when he was attacked.
Yosuke Sasaki (24) was making his way from his night shift at the National Pen building on Dublin Road when he was attacked at 9am on Avenue Road.
However, in a tragic twist of fate, a colleague has said Mr Sasaki had told them just before he left work that morning that he had to pick up a package that day. As a result, he had decided to take an alternative route home.
"I have to go to the post office now to receive a package," was the last thing he told colleagues before leaving the plant at 8.30am.
His colleague said: "Reports that he was killed on the way to his workplace are wrong. He was on the way home.
"There's a nine-hour time difference between Ireland and Japan, so Japanese workers in the plant work from night to morning, adjusting for Japanese customers' working time."
The colleague said Mr Sasaki had never used Avenue Road before as a way to go back home after work.
Mr Sasaki lived in an apartment with his British girlfriend in Dundalk town, and always walked to and from home and work.
The most direct route from his workplace would be to follow the R132 into Dundalk town centre and then out to Bridge Street. However, on the day he was killed, Mr Sasaki either deviated from the R132 close to the town centre and turned right on to Avenue Road, or he followed the N52 from his workplace, taking him east of the town, before turning left into Avenue Road.
Paying tribute this week, the chief executive of the National Pen company said Mr Sasaki had only joined the firm last August but during his relatively short time with the contact centre he had become a valued member of staff and had made a positive impact.
"It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we confirm the death of our colleague in Wednesday's incident in Dundalk," said Peter Kelly from the company, which specialises in personalised marketing merchandise.
"Senior management and wider colleagues extend their sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, and have been liaising directly with the Japanese Embassy.
"This is a time of profound sadness for management and staff. We will do everything possible to assist the family at this tragic time," he added.
Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil is to be held in memory of Mr Sasaki at the Maid of Eireann statue outside Dundalk courthouse on Monday, between 7pm and 8pm.
Councillor John McGahon, chairman of Dundalk Municipal District, confirmed that a representative from the Japanese Embassy will be in attendance and will speak.
"This is a joint event that has been organised by all members of the district to show our unity with Yosuke and his family," he said.
Books of condolence will also be open at the offices of the council in Dundalk, Drogheda and Ardee on Monday.
Ollie Morgan, a former councillor in Dundalk, has set up a GoFundMe page towards the repatriation of Mr Sasaki's body and to show solidarity with his family.
The GoFundMe campaign currently stands at €13,179 - well over the original target of €2,000.
Some 864 people donated on the site since it was created.
“This is a chance to show our solidarity with the family” Mr Morgan said.
Shocked residents offered tributes this week at the spot where Mr Sasaki was killed, as it became a growing shrine of flowers and gifts to the tragic Japanese man.
"Life taken too early, under such tragic circumstances," said a message on one of the bouquets.
A small can of tinned coffee from Japan was also left at the scene, possibly a favourite drink of the man his pals will never see again.
Eighteen-year-old Mohamed Morei appeared in court charged with the murder of Mr Sasaki at a special sitting of Dundalk District Court on Thursday evening.
Defence solicitor Barry Callan asked that his client receive "appropriate medical treatment while in custody".
The judge directed that all appropriate psychological and medical treatment be provided to Mr Morei.
The judge remanded Mr Morei in custody until next Thursday at 10am at Cloverhill District Court.
There was no application for bail.