Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Caught on camera: last night of pregnant mother murdered by thugs

Detectives investigating the murder of a pregnant Northern Ireland woman last night released camera footage of her last known movements.

CCTV images show Jean Quigley (30) entering a pizza shop the night before she was found beaten to death at her Londonderry home.

The mother-of-four was two months pregnant when she was discovered on Saturday night with head injuries.

A police spokesman said: "We know that Jean got a taxi from the pizza shop (on Friday) to her home in Cornshell Fields.

"The next day Jean's body was discovered by her family."

Ms Quigley was the mother of four young children, three boys and a girl aged between five and 12.

As police continued to keep guard at the scene of the murder last night, anxious mothers gathered their children closer to them in the estate built on a steep hill in the Steelstown area of Derry.

As Cornshell Fields struggles to come to death with the horror that has been visited upon them, neighbours have talked among each other about how impossible it is to imagine how the brutal murder has impacted on her family.

The children are foremost in the minds of neighbours, who organised three candlelit vigils at the murder scene, to show their support for the family.

Jean’s four youngsters were deprived of a woman described by people who knew her as “a natural mother”, a woman who walked them to school every morning, regardless of the fact she had to climb one of Derry’s steepest hills to get back home.

Three of the children attend St Therese’s primary school, while the oldest one goes to St Brigid’s College.

“People here feel so helpless,” said one of the vigil organisers, Alice Smart. “You feel so hopeless when something like this happens, but we wanted to show support for the family.

“It was also good that priests from St Brigid’s and St Joseph’s took part. It brought some sense of peace to the area, where there’s been so much turmoil.I think we are only just beginning to take it in.”

Another of the organisers, Marie Higgins, described the atmosphere at present in Cornshell Fields as “eerie”.

“At the beginning, the fear was tangible,” said Alice.

“Young women, single mothers, were terrified that this guy was out there. The fact that the police have been outside Jean’s house all the time, has helped calm things. But people won’t rest until he’s caught. People will be able to rest a lot easier then.”

With the community of Cornshell Fields reeling from the shock, residents appreciate that they cannot even begin to imagine how the murder has affected Jean’s family.

“How do you tell something like this to the young children? It’s awful to think how they have to try to explain that,” said Marie.

Both women have spoken to their tragic neighbour’s immediate relatives, as many of them came to the vigils and were said to be “distraught” and “in total shock”.

The children are currently being looked after by their father, they say, and he himself is “dazed” and “devastated”.

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