Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Jailed: Killer who beat teen fiancee and left her to die

A 31-year-old man has been jailed for 14 years for the brutal murder of his teenage fiancee in 2007.

Terence Philip Whiting from Kent, but with an address at Maghaberry Prison, was jailed for the murder of 17-year-old Wendy Ann McAteer in Limavady in November 2007. He had already pleaded guilty to the charge.

Her body was found at Backburn Path in the town beside St Mary's High School, where she was a former pupil.

She had been kicked and punched and received some blows while lying on the ground. She had lain unconscious for about half an hour before she died.

Miss McAteer had been living with Whiting at Robertson Crescent in the town at the time of her murder.

Her brother Paul found her body on Backburn Path.

The prosecution said that Whiting had effectively left Wendy McAteer to die in an alleyway after inflicting multiple injuries.

After the murder Whiting went to the home he shared with Wendy and her family and changed from his bloodsoaked clothes into fresh clothes.

He was arrested several hours later on his way to City of Derry Airport.

Jailing Whiting — who has a history of convictions for violence against women — for 14 years, Mr Justice McCloskey said he had brutally murdered a defenceless teenage victim who was vulnerable both physically and psychologically.

“The brutal attack which brought about this young girl's death was senseless, inexplicable, inexcusable and plainly, intentional in every respect,” he said.

“The attack on the deceased which caused her to die entailed the infliction of multiple injuries, Further, in the light of the pathologist's findings, some of the deceased's head injuries were almost certainly sustained while she lay on the ground,” he added. Wendy's father, brother, and uncle were in court to hear the sentencing. Speaking on behalf of Wendy's parents Eileen and Colm and her brother Paul outside the court, the PSNI investigating officer, Detective Inspector Ian Magee, said the McAteer family was “totally devastated” by the death of their loving daughter. He said Whiting had lied about his age, claiming to be 24, and said the former painter and decorator was “a man they (the McAteer family) trusted and brought into their lives”.

He added: “The family will remember Wendy as a loving 17-year-old daughter.

“Eileen and Wendy were more like sisters and she had a dream of going into the beauty business and that was callously taken away from her by Whiting. Some remorse would have made it easier on the family, but he demonstrated no remorse at all.”

Inspector Magee added: “She (Eileen) wanted Wendy to take an active part in life, do well in her beauty business, but what happened was that Terence Whiting took this away from her and Eileen will never have an opportunity to see that long-held dream fulfilled.”

On behalf of the family, the officer thanked the public of Limavady for their help and support after Wendy's death, the PSNI and Limavady priests Fr Michael Collins and Fr Edward Gallagher.

Celine McKenna, principal of St Mary's High School, Limavady, said: “She was the most beautiful child, modest and gentle, and she always had a smile on her face.”

She told the BBC: “To think that you could be sitting in your house watching television at that time of the evening when her life was being taken away from her.

“When I walked to school the next morning I saw all the police cars and the forensic people. It was like something out of a television programme, but it was happening in our town.

“We remember her as a gentle, kind, reserved individual. She was highly regarded by her teachers and she had her whole life in front of her.”

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