A man in Ireland was sentenced to two life sentences for the horrific murders of two gay men he targeted on gay dating apps, the BBC and other outlets reported. Police say the man had consensual sex with his victims before killing them, attacking them due to an antigay bias.
Yousef Palani, 23, of Sligo, pleaded guilty last year to the murders of Aidan Moffitt, 42, and Michael Snee, 58. Both victims were found bound and suffering from dozens of stab wounds. Moffitt was also decapitated, and his head was placed on a bed facing the door. Palani also pleaded guilty to stabbing Anthony Burke, 50, about the face, leaving him blind in one eye.
Palani was sentenced to two life sentences for the murders, plus an additional 20 years for the attack on Burke by judge Mary Ellen Ring at the Central Criminal Court late last month. The sentences are to run concurrently. Ring said she handed down the harsh sentences to prevent any further acts of “unspeakable violence” by Palani, who told police he would have killed again if not arrested.
All three attacks took place during a four-day period last year starting on Sunday, April 9, when he attacked Burke. Despite losing his eyesight from multiple stab wounds to the face, Burke was able to escape because he refused to be tied up by Palani.
The next day on April 10, Palani attacked and killed Moffitt, stabbing him 43 times before decapitating the older man. His body was found with his hands tied behind his back and a knife placed in his hand.
Two days later on April 12, Palani killed Snee. His body was found bound and suffering from 25 stab wounds mostly to the head.
Palani was arrested the next day on April 13.
He at first denied involvement in the crimes, but later freely admitted to the Gardaí (Ireland’s national police) that he used gay dating apps to specifically target single gay Irish men who also lived alone.
“It would have to be their own house, and they had to be alone, you can’t be hurting kids or women,” the Irish Independentreported Palani told arresting officers.
“Are you sure you are 100pc Irish?” Palani messaged one intended victim.
The Gardaí said Palani claimed he was suffering from mental illness and that he was not gay.
“I can get angry very quick,” he told the Gardaí after his arrest, adding, “I want to tell you at this time I was mentally ill. I heard voices. They told me to do it.”
Police say Palani exaggerated his mental health issues and pointed to evidence showing he had engaged in consensual sex with his victims. Burke also said Palani had engaged in consensual sexual activity with him on a previous day. Police were able to find a semen sample at the scene.