County shocked by two murders in a week

Gardai in Mayo were this week investigating two murders in the county that have occurred in the past six days. These murders bring the total number of murders in the county up to six for the past six months.

The latest incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon (December 18 ), when Owen Maughan from the Castlebar area was gunned down in broad daylight by unknown assailants to the side of the forecourt in the busy filling station at Mooneen, Castlebar, at around 3.30pm. A number of people were in the filling station and its surrounds at the time of the murder.

This latest murder followed the killing of 28-year-old Sara Staunton in Portagh, Mayo Abbey, halfway between the villages Mayo Abbey and Balla. Ms Staunton was found on Saturday afternoon last (December 14 ). Gardai have arrested and charged 22-year-old Ray Gralton with an address at Mount Prospect, Roscommon, with that murder, last Monday at a special sitting of Ballina District Court.

Gardai confirmed that Mr Maughan was treated at the scene by Gardai and emergency services and was moved to Mayo General Hospital where he died at 8pm on Wednesday night. A post-mortem examination was carried out on Mr Maughan’s remains by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis in Mayo General on Thursday. The scene was sealed off immediately for a technical and forensic examination, and remained still sealed off with officers searching a portion of the forecourt on Thursday afternoon.

This is the second time that a shooting incident has occurred at the same filling station in recent times, the victim of the previous attack recovered from the injuries he received.

When asked about local concerns about the number of murders in Mayo in recent times, and these two shooting incidents occurring in the same place and the possibility of them being linked, Superintendent Pat Diskin declined to say if they were linked, saying: “This is the second shooting in this location, after every incident we do review the policing arrangements, that will be done after this particular matter as well.”

In relation to the other murders in recent times, he said: “As regards the six murders, in the first five people have been charged and brought before the courts and I don’t intend to make any further comment in relation to those.”

Initial reports suggested that Mr Maughan was shot three times in the back in the attack, but the superintendent refused to be drawn on the injuries saying: “All I can say is that we are awaiting the results of the post mortem to get the exact injuries of the injured party.” As for the number of people suspected to have taken part in the attack he said that those enquires were all part of the ongoing investigation.

Superintendent Diskin said that Gardai are carrying out a through investigation which will include the examination of CCTV footage from the area and they have an interest in a dark coloured car, possibly a BMW, that was seen in the area at the time. Gardai have asked anyone who may have witnessed the shooting or who saw the car to call the incident room in Castlebar Garda Station on 094 9022222.


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