As police are reported to seek notorious woman beater Stephen Cahoon for questioning over the killing of Londonderry mother Jean Quigley, the family of a young woman he savagely battered nine years ago say they want to put the entire episode behind them.
The family of Lynn McGall have been living with the cruel memory of the savage beating that Cahoon (then 27) inflicted on Lynn (then 18) in 1999, and are refusing to comment on the latest development.
When the Belfast Telegraph contacted them yesterday, the McGalls were loathe to discuss the effect the savage incident has had on their lives, with none willing to be quoted directly.
But a close family source commented: “Lynn has no memory of Cahoon, and we are trying to put it all behind us. We allowed Lynn to be photographed with her heinous injuries at the time in order to co-operate with the police, but the police don’t want publicity this time and we are staying out of it.”
The picture was used back in 1999 as police sought to have Cahoon’s sentence increased on appeal, and Lynn said outside the court she was pleased his jail term had been almost doubled.
Lynn, from Ballymena, was left for dead by Cahoon, whose three-year sentence was increased to five years after a campaign by the Sunday Life.
He admitted 15 charges against two women — one of whom was Lynn — including grievous bodily harm, assault and threatening to kill.
The Ballymena girl was left almost unrecognisable from the beating, and DNA was used to convict Cahoon, whose chewing gum was found in her hair.
He was also convicted of beating his partner Samantha Brown and threatening to kill her.
Police, meanwhile, have declined to confirm that they want to speak to Cahoon, but a spokesman said: “We are aware that there is speculation in the Londonderry community about the identity of a suspect wanted for questioning about the murder of Jean Quigley on Saturday, July 26.
“Police are grateful for the support and co-operation they have received in this investigation, which is making significant progress.
“A number of definite lines of inquiry are being pursued, and we are also grateful to the media in highlighting this case and carrying appeals for information. But detectives are concerned that publicity surrounding any named individual will impede the progress of their investigation and may compromise the chances of a successful prosecution. Their efforts are not assisted by untimely media coverage.”
Jean Quigley (30) will be buried this morning after Requiem Mass at St Joseph’s Church in Derry.
Her remains were transferred to her parents’ home at Fergleen Park from Altnagelvin Hospital on Thursday.