Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Pregnant mother beaten to death in Derry had told of fears

The scene yesterday in Cornshell Fields in Londonderry where Jean Quigley was murdered

A pregnant mother of four who was murdered in Londonderry at the weekend told people last Thursday that she was frightened, it emerged today.

Her four children — three boys and one girl — are believed to be aged 12, 8, 6 and 4, and it is also understood that she was six months pregnant when she was murdered.

A post mortem examination to establish the cause of death was due to be carried out today.

Local SDLP councillor Shaun Gallagher, who is the chairman of the District Policing Partnership for the Derry City Council area, today said that Ms Quigley suffered an “horrendous” death.

He said she told people she was frightened last Thursday but did not contact the police.

No details of the victim’s injuries were released by police, but it is understood that forensic officers spent a good part of yesterday at the crime scene.

Although the body was discovered on Saturday evening, police are asking local people is they saw any suspicious activity between 10.30pm on Friday night to 8pm on Saturday.

Mr Gallagher said today that the killing was “horrendous” and that the local community was reeling in shock following the brutal murder.

“From what I can gather she met a particularly horrific death,” he said.

“People are waking up to this terrible news this morning and there is shock right throughout the community. People can’t believe that something like this has happened in this area.

“We are kind of numb. To say the community is in shock would be an understatement.”

Asked about who found Ms Quigley’s body and in what circumstances, Mr Gallagher said: “You have to be very sensitive to the four children involved and to the family here. This girl suffered an awful death and I think that is what has really shocked the community here.”

Mr Gallagher continued: “One of the things that’s annoying me is that apparently this girl was frightened on Thursday. It’s just unfortunate that she didn’t tell the authorities because this might have been prevented.”

The DPP chairman also said that police had been shocked at what they found inside the house, adding: “I do believe from what I’ve heard from the police that the horror of this death and the way that this young woman met death left them shocked.

“My deepest sympathies are with Jean’s family and friends at this sad time. For a young life to be taken like this is just heart wrenching and the prayers of everyone in Shantallow are with the Quigley family.”

Neighbours in the Cornshell Fields area have spoken of their shock, while local councillors have told how the community in the Galliagh area — where Ms Quigley originally came from — was also stunned by the brutal murder.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, one neighbour, Stephen Doherty, said he did not know anything had happened until he heard a lot of commotion shortly before 9pm on Saturday when police and an ambulance crew were called to the scene.

“No-one can believe what has happened,” he said.

“How do you tell four kids that their mum’s dead?

“It’s just so sad. Those kids will miss their mummy very, very much. This is not a bad area. Everyone is still in a state of shock. Jean was a lovely person.”

He said he understood that the children were out of the house on Saturday.

Ms Quigley is understood to have separated from her partner, with whom she had the four children. Police have said they are following a number of lines of enquiry.

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