Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Man is held after girl's murder

Detectives were today treating the death of a teenage girl found with head injuries in a dimly-lit street as murder.

The body of 17-year-old Wendy McAteer was found in the Backburn Path area of Limavady, Co Londonderry. A 30-year-old man was being questioned by police.

Wendy was a former pupil at St Mary's in the town.

Father Edward Gallagher of St Mary's parish said her parents Colm and Eileen and her brother Paul were in a state of "devastation" and " speechless".

"They are trying to come to terms with a horrific event," he said.

Fr Gallagher described Wendy as a "kind, gentle and quiet student and a very quiet girl".

"What happened, the horror of her violent death, was the antithesis of what she was," he said.

Debbie Alcorn, who had been on work experience with Wendy at the local integrated primary school, said: "She used to come into the shop (on Irish Green Street) all the time. She was a nice girl, she was lovely, really friendly. It's the last thing you'd expect. She'll be missed."

Speaking at the scene today, Detective Chief Inspector David McConville said: "She was found dead at the scene and had sustained head injuries, and was already dead by the time the ambulance arrived.

"One person is in custody and we are seeking help from the public to try to ascertain her movements.

"We know she went into Clarke's Bar on Irish Green Street at 2.30pm yesterday afternoon.

"She remained there for a number of hours and left yesterday evening, and she was there in the company of another person.

"We want the public to come forward to give us an understanding of her movements and who she was with."

Police cordoned off the path. A van with a white screen hid the view from Limavady High School as forensics officers examined the area.

Police kept traffic moving quickly past the scene and also boarded buses to shepherd pupils into the school.

Blackburn Path is a narrow walkway used by many people in Limavady, and runs between two schools, St Mary's and Limavady High School.

On July 6, Michael McGinnis (37), a former teacher from Shanreagh Park in the town, was found dead at the bottom of steps on the same path. A man was later charged with his murder.

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