Thieves use angle grinder to steal statue from village
GARDAI are investigating the theft of a deer statue sculpted by double murderer Patrick Sleator.
It is understood that the three-foot steel statue was dismantled using an angle grinder in the early hours of Friday morning last.
Gardai believe that several individuals in a jeep drove into the Memorial Park in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, before dismantling the statue.
The statue's sculptor Sleator gunned down his elderly parents in their farmhouse kitchen before taking his own life in 2007.
Neighbours of the family discovered the bodies of Sleator (42) and his parents John Joe (84) and Mary (80) lying on the kitchen floor of the family home in Grange Con, Co Wicklow.
No motive was ever established for the shooting spree.
The deer is one of two statues sculpted by Sleator in the months before the murders.
It was bought by the Rathdrum Development Association.
The other statue is owned privately by a resident of the area.
Sleator was employed as a farm machinery contractor before taking up an interest in sculpture.
It is believed that he suffered from depression and had a deteriorating relationship with his mother.
The statue was erected in 2006 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the county.
Local councillor Jimmy O'Shaughnessy described the theft as "the lowest act of vandalism the community has ever seen".
"I believe it was probably taken for its metal value. This deer is very special to the community. The theft represents how far thugs will go to make money," he said.
Chairman of the Rathdrum Development Association Jimmy Olahan told the Herald that he was not confident of getting the statue back.
"It is heartbreaking that something so special to the community is gone. The children particularly loved the statue," he said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Rathdrum garda station on (0404) 46206.