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Northern Ireland mum's brutal murder: former partner charged

By Allan Preston

The former partner of a young mother from Co Antrim has been charged with her weekend murder in England.

Mother-of-two Kerri McAuley (32) was found dead in a property in Norwich on Sunday.

Yesterday, her ex-partner Joe Storey (26) was charged with the murder.

Kerri’s dad Donal McAuley from Cushendall, Co Antrim, said the family’s “hearts are broken” after the death of his “beautiful daughter”.

A fundraising page to help pay for the funeral costs has already raised more than £10,000.

A friend said: “She was so well liked and beautiful. It’s awful.”

He added that: "The main thing for us is to get her body home among the people who love her."

It's understood the family's wish is for her to be buried in Norwich where Kerri's mother lives. It's understood Kerri's two boys are to live with their father from a previous relationship with Ms McAuley.

A fundraising page set up by Ms McAuley's friends - Kendall Jarrett and Laura A'dore - to pay for the funeral costs has so far raised more than £10,000 within days, almost twice the original target.

The two friends wrote: "Kerri was well-known in Norwich as a kind-hearted, soft spoken crazy chick! She had a huge friend circle and loved by so many including her two young boys."

They added: "We want to take some of the stress away from the family with raising some money for her funeral costs and help with her two sons who luckily have a father who will be taking them on full-time.

"We love you Kerri, rest in paradise."

Family friend Abbey Newton told the Belfast Telegraph: "The family would be well-known in Cushendall. It's awful. She was so well liked and beautiful.

"The amount of money raised just shows how much people thought of her."

On Christmas Day, Ms McAuley posted one of her final messages on Facebook showing her Christmas tree surrounded with piles of presents for her two sons.

"We might not have had the greatest couple of months and although I've not much felt in the Christmas spirit and it's all had to be last minute, I'm on the mend and I've managed to pull it all together for my babies because as mums that's what you do," she said.

"I'm ready to start my 2017 as strong as I've ever been."

The young mother had been working as a model for the martial arts promoter Contenders Norwich. A post on the company's Facebook page read: "Rest in Peace Kerri McAuley.

"Our thoughts are with your boys and your family at this very sad time. You will be missed."

Yesterday there were emotional scenes as Joe Storey appeared in Norwich Magistrates Court.

Dressed in a blue jumper he spoke only to confirm his age, name and address.

The Norwich Evening News reported the accused appeared to smile during proceedings prompting tearful outbursts from many in the gallery, with one heard to shout angrily: "What are you smiling for?"

Storey was remanded in custody to appear in Norwich Crown Court today.

Friends paid tribute to Kerri online. "Such a beautiful girl. I hope she gets the funeral she deserves and wish her family all the love in the world," one wrote.

To contribute to the Kerri McAuley funeral appeal, visit justgiving.com and search for 'Kendall Jarrett'

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