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Jennifer Dornan murder: Knife found in neighbour's garden may have been used to kill mum-of-three

By David Young

Published 11/08/2015

Jennifer Dornan was stabbed
Jennifer Dornan was stabbed

Police have been handed a knife that may have been used in the murder of west Belfast mother-of-three Jennifer Dornan.

The weapon was found close to her home by a neighbour and handed in to the PSNI.

The neighbour - who found the knife under a tree in her garden - told reporters how at first she thought the orange-coloured blade was a packet of crisps.

"My sister said it could be a child's toy so I had another look - and it was the one I'd seen on TV," she said.

The PSNI had circulated a picture of a distinctive knife of the kind it suspected had been used to murder Ms Dornan - one of a batch that had been sold door-to-door in the Lagmore area. It is understood the knife handed in is similar.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes, who is leading the investigation into Ms Dornan's murder, said: "We're very grateful to the lady who made the discovery and who worked so quickly to alert our officers.

"Having seen the knife she found, it certainly looks very like the one we've been searching for and we are delighted to get started on this particular piece of potential evidence.

"The knife is now with our forensics team and will undergo testing for DNA and fingerprints, so we are hoping the weather will be kind to us and will not have destroyed any potential evidence."

In a related development, it was found that the man wanted by the PSNI for the murder of Ms Dornan was on the run from a prison in the Republic when the young mum died.

Sources in the Republic last night declined to name the man, but confirmed that a prisoner had absconded from Mountjoy jail in Dublin a month ago.

It is understood that this is the same man recaptured by gardai in a Donegal seaside resort on Friday.

The PSNI is preparing an extradition request for the 37-year old man, and have said that it is not looking for anyone else in connection with the murder of Ms Dornan.

The young mother was stabbed to death on August 2 and her Lagmore home torched in a bid to destroy the evidence.

An Irish Prison Service spokesman confirmed last night that the man had been unlawfully at large when he was rearrested in Bundoran on Friday.

However, the spokesman declined to release the fugitive's name, despite him being a convicted criminal. The spokesman said it was not the policy the Irish Prison Service to realise the names of prisoners who had absconded.

Another man aged 39 who had been arrested in Belfast on suspicion of withholding information about Ms Dornan's murder has been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

Hundreds of people attended Ms Dornan's funeral last Friday.

At it, Parish priest Fr Martin Graham said: "Whoever did this to Jennifer has turned her death, which was cold-hearted and callous already, into something that was wicked and obscene. A family home has been destroyed as her family's hearts have been torn apart."

Ms Dornan had three children - Martin, Jayden and Abigail, all aged under nine

A GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help her children in the aftermath of her murder has already raised over £16,000 in the eight days since it was set up. The target is £20,000. http://www.gofundme.com/3ba2w7uqs

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