herald

Monday 15 October 2018

Man held after 'very decent' young man beaten to death in horrific doorstep attack

Murder victim Jimmy Loughlin
Murder victim Jimmy Loughlin
Garai at the scene

A young man who was beaten to death with a wheel brace in his Sligo home over the weekend was killed in a "random and unprovoked" attack, gardai believe.

Jimmy Loughlin (20) was discovered with serious injuries at the rented house on Connolly Street shortly after 1.30pm on Saturday afternoon.

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

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

"When Mr Loughlin came out to see what was happening the suspect attacked him with the weapon," the source said.

Random

"This appears to be a completely random and unprovoked attack."

The murder suspect then fled to a nearby apartment before gardai 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.

Gardai 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 gardai 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.

A man is due to appear before Donegal Town District Court this morning, to be charged in connection with the incident.

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 subjected to a violent assault.

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

"He had a great sense of humour and everyone loved working with him, as he lifted their day with his fun personality," said restaurant manager Leo McNamara.

"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 everyone was "shocked and saddened" and that their thoughts were with Jimmy's 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," he said.

"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."

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

"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," one woman said.

"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 by it. I just couldn't believe it when I found out. He was always so kind to me."

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