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Jennifer Dornan murder: Police confirm mum-of-three was stabbed as they issue knife appeal

Published 06/08/2015

Tributes have been paid to Jennifer Dornan who died in a fire at her home in Dunmurry yesterday morning
Tributes have been paid to Jennifer Dornan who died in a fire at her home in Dunmurry yesterday morning

Detectives investigating the murder of Jennifer Dornan in the Lagmore area of Dunmurry last Sunday have released a photo of a knife similar to one which they believe was used to attack her.

Ms Dornan - who had only celebrated her 30th birthday in May - died at her home on Sunday morning. Emergency services were called to Hazel View in Lagmore, just before 5am, but they found Ms Dornan dead at the scene.

PSNI issue a photograph of knife they believe is similar to the one used to stab Jennifer Dornan in Dunmurry Belfast
PSNI issue a photograph of knife they believe is similar to the one used to stab Jennifer Dornan in Dunmurry Belfast

On Monday evening the PSNI launched a murder investigation following results of a post mortem.

Police have now issued a photograph of knife they believe is similar to the one used to stab Ms Dornan before her home was set on fire.

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes from Serious Crime Branch, said: "I can confirm that Jennifer was stabbed during the attack early on Sunday morning.

"We are appealing to anyone who has come across a knife like this since Sunday to contact us. We are grateful to the community for the enormous amount of assistance they have provided in the past few days and would ask for their continued support."

The PSNI said they are 'following a definite line of enquiry'.

A 39-year-old man remains in custody being questioned about withholding information. Other enquiries are continuing.

Detective Geddes added:"We are particularly interested in the movements and whereabouts of a man seen leaving Jennifer’s home at 4.20am on Sunday. We believe he walked from Hazel View, through Lagmore to Poleglass. We believe he was wearing a grey tee-shirt or sweat top and a light coloured bomber jacket.

"At some stage, we believe he got rid of the grey top and light coloured jacket and obtained a red and gold sports jersey.

Claire Caldwell - who launched a fund for Jennifer Dornan’s children - with friends Martine Conlon, Vicky McKowen, Eleanor Mulligan and Alice Conlon
Claire Caldwell - who launched a fund for Jennifer Dornan’s children - with friends Martine Conlon, Vicky McKowen, Eleanor Mulligan and Alice Conlon
A fund for Jennifer Dornan’s children
Some of the toys and other items which have been donated to the fund
Floral tributes and forensic officers outside Jennifer Dornan's home in west Belfast yesterday
Jennifer Dornan died at the weekend
Floral tributes outside her home in west Belfast yesterday
Forensic officers outside her home in west Belfast yesterday
Flowers at the scene of the house fire in Hazel View Jennifer Dornan was found dead

"We are appealing to anyone who lives on the route between Hazel View and Poleglass and who has knowledge of any of these items of clothing or the knife to contact us."

At a vigil on Monday night Ms Dornan's grief-stricken father, Stephen, made an emotional plea for help in finding her killer.

Mr Dornan appealed to the local community to bring any information they had to the police, so that his daughter's killer could be brought to justice.

Tributes have been paid to Jennifer Dornan who died in a fire at her home in Dunmurry yesterday morning
Tributes have been paid to Jennifer Dornan who died in a fire at her home in Dunmurry yesterday morning
Tributes have been paid to Jennifer Dornan who died in a fire at her home in Dunmurry yesterday morning
Tributes have been paid to Jennifer Dornan who died in a fire at her home in Dunmurry yesterday morning

"Whatever you've seen - how little, how big, how small, come forward," he said.

"This animal killed an innocent, defenceless woman in cold blood.

"However little you know, come forward, and he'll be off the streets tomorrow - before he does this to somebody else."

Sinn Fein MLA Jennifer McCann said the community had been left stunned by the murder.

She said: "This news has sent shock waves through the local community who have rallied round her family.

"I am urging anyone in the community with information which may assist the police inquiry into Jennifer's death to come forward right away.

Sister of Jennifer Dornan, Claire Dornan, pictured during the vigil. Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Sister of Jennifer Dornan, Claire Dornan, pictured during the vigil. Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Members of the public in the Lagmore area holding a vigil for murder victim Jennifer Dornan. Photo: Kevin Scott / Presseye
Members of the public in the Lagmore area holding a vigil for murder victim Jennifer Dornan. Photo: Kevin Scott / Presseye
Members of the public in the Lagmore area holding a vigil for murder victim Jennifer Dornan. Photo: Kevin Scott / Presseye
Members of the public in the Lagmore area holding a vigil for murder victim Jennifer Dornan. Photo: Kevin Scott / Presseye
Jennifer Dornan's father Stephen speaks at the vigil. Photo: Kevin Scott / Presseye
Members of the public in the Lagmore area holding a vigil for murder victim Jennifer Dornan. Photo: Kevin Scott / Presseye
Members of the public in the Lagmore area holding a vigil for murder victim Jennifer Dornan. Photo: Kevin Scott / Presseye
Sister of Jennifer Dornan, Claire Dornan, pictured during the vigil. Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

"This is a time for calm heads and the community needs to support the family and help the police get on with their job of finding Jennifer's killer."

Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives on the non-emergency number 101 or use the independent charity Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111 if you don’t want to provide your details.

An online fundraising drive to help Ms Dornan's family has raised more than £15,000.

The GoFundMe page was set up by a friend devastated at the loss.

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