crossexaminer.co.uk

Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Chaotic scenes as Dundalk murder accused appears in court

Dozens of gardaí struggled to contain the angry mob that gathered at Dundalk Courthouse on Thursday evening as the teenager accused of the murder of Japanese national Yosuke Sasaki and the assault of two local men in a series of attacks in the town the previous day, was brought before the court to be formally charged.

Egyptian national Mohamed Morei (18) was surrounded by gardaí as he was swiftly led from a patrol vehicle into the court as a crowd of protestors shouted abuse and attempted to storm the court entrance.

Twenty-four-year-old Mr Sasaki was stabbed in the back as he walked along the Avenue Road in the town around 9.00am on Wednesday.  He died at the scene. 

At 9.32am Cian Murphy, who is in his early 20s, was attacked at Coes Road and stabbed in the back. He managed to make his way to his nearby workplace, where colleagues called emergency services.  And at 9.40am a third victim was assaulted at Seatown Place, and was struck in the head with a fencing pole. 

The injured man went for help at the nearby Smyth’s Life Pharmacy where shop owner Anne McEntegart described the scene: “The wound was pumping, there was a lot of blood.  [The attack] was totally random. He came in here afterwards asking for help.  We treated the man. I had three to four staff on duty and the blood was pumping from his head,” she said.

Morei was apprehended at a derelict property by unarmed gardaí a short time later and was said to be in a very distressed state after his arrest.

Initial reports suggested Mr Sosaki’s murder may have been “terrorist related”, however gardaí have since announced they can find “no established link” to indicate such and the investigation is ongoing.  Two mobile phones seized from the suspect are also being examined.

It emerged Mohamed Morei had been in contact with immigration police on New Year’s Day in relation to a possible application for residency in the Republic of Ireland, and there was no indication of any involvement in criminality.  As part of the investigation, detectives are to liaise with Egyptian authorities to determine his movements, the gardaí said.

The victim had been living in Ireland for about a year and last August began working in National Pen Promotional Products, a European-wide company that has its national headquarters in Dundalk.

Chief executive Peter Kelly, described Mr Sasaki as a valued member of staff who made a “positive impact” on the company.

Extending sincere condolences on behalf of management and staff to his bereaved family, he said: “This is a time of profound sadness for management and staff. National Pen prides itself on taking the utmost care of its work colleagues. We will do everything possible to assist the family at this tragic time”.

Meanwhile, former councillor Ollie Morgan established a GoFundMe page to help with the financial cost of repatriating the remains of Yosuke Sasaki to his home country.

Its target of €2,000 was met within a few hours of going live and now is nudging up on €9,000.

Writing on the GoFundMe page, Mr Morgan said: “The people of Dundalk have been left shocked and horrified at the horrible and tragic events that happened in Dundalk yesterday morning. This is a chance to show our solidarity with the family. Please donate whatever you can afford.”

Donations to the GoFundMe appeal can be made at www.gofundme.com/repatriation-of-our-japanese-friend.

A candlelit vigil in memory of Mr Sasaki, as a gesture of solidarity with his family and friends, will take place tonight (Monday) at 7pm outside Dundalk Courthouse at the Market Square.  A representative of the Japanese Embassy is also expected to be in attendance.