Man suffers 90pc burns and 15 stab wounds in home attack
A man who was viciously attacked in a house as part of a drugs feud suffered burns to 90pc of his body and was stabbed up to 15 times.
Ciaran 'Hairy' Murphy (24) was clinging to life in a sedated condition in Dublin's St James' Hospital last night after the savage incident at a house in Rhode, Co Offaly, shortly before 2am yesterday.
The Herald can reveal that gardai believe the attack is drugs-related and that Mr Murphy has been involved in a long-running dispute with a Co Westmeath criminal.
Sources say that detectives are investigating if this man is a suspect for Monday morning's horrific attack as officers have been long aware of the feud.
The victim was stabbed up to 15 times before the property was set alight. He managed to escape the inferno to the rear of the home before he was found by a passer-by and emergency services contacted.
It is understood that Mr Murphy was threatened by the Westmeath criminal in an incident in June.
Investigations have established that he had been in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, over the weekend and are probing whether he became involved in a dispute there.
Mr Murphy has a number of previous criminal convictions, including a six-month suspended sentence at Tullamore Circuit Court in July of last year, a conviction for drug possession in Edenderry in 2011, and a conviction for assault.
"He is a mid-level drug dealer who owed lots of money all over the place.
"His modus operandi was to run up a debt with a higher- level figure and then not pay this money off," a senior source said last night.
"This, of course, meant that he became a target, but whatever he did no-one deserves what happened to him."
The attack took place at a house on a road leaving the village, towards Rochfordbridge, near Co Westmeath near the M6 motorway.
Mr Murphy was found by a passer-by after he escaped into the back yard of the house in the townland of Coolcor outside Rhode sometime between 11.30pm on Sunday and 1.50am yesterday morning.
Sources believe that it was one person who carried out the attack rather than a gang.
Mr Murphy bred dogs, and it is understood that a number of dogs died in the blaze that gutted the house.
Mr Murphy has been a prominent target for local gardai in recent months and in May of this year, a house linked to him was searched and cannabis and cocaine was found there, but he was not charged in relation to this seizure.