A man is fighting for his life after he was found outside a burning house in rural Co Offaly with multiple stab wounds and severe burns.
Ciaran Murphy was stabbed up to 16 times and left for dead in an attack thought to have been carried out by a crime gang, possibly over a drugs debt.
The 24-year-old, from Rhode village, managed to crawl out of the house after it was set alight. He was spotted by a neighbour who went to investigate the blaze and alerted the emergency services.
Mr Murphy was brought to Tullamore Hospital before being transferred to St James’s Hospital in Dublin.
Gardaí said he sustained severe burns to 90% of his body and was in a critical condition. Detectives are following several lines of inquiry, including that the attack may be linked to a row with a local gang, possibly over a drugs debt of €1,000.
Mr Murphy is well-known to gardaí. He has convictions for supplying drugs, assault, and attempted robbery.
Gardaí suspect the attack happened some time after midnight. He was found by a neighbour at 1.50am near kennels he kept at the back, where he bred pit bulls.
Gardaí have described the attack as particularly “furious” and are treating it as attempted murder.
The house, located on Rochfortbridge Rd in the townland of Coolcur, about 4km outside Rhode, was gutted in the fire. It was sealed off pending a forensic and technical examination.
Gardaí are trying to locate members of the gang they suspect may have been involved. They will also try and talk to any associates and friends of Mr Murphy to see if they know of anyone who had a grievance against him.
Witnesses are asked to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 0327600 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
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