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PSNI launches extradition bid for Jennifer Dornan killing suspect being held in the Republic

By Cate McCurry

Published 04/02/2016

Jennifer Dornan
Jennifer Dornan
Police at the scene last August

A man set to be prosecuted for the murder of a west Belfast mother-of-three has been detained in Dublin on a European arrest warrant.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in Northern Ireland said it had decided to prosecute a suspect in relation to the murder of Jennifer Dornan.

Raymond O'Neill was arrested by Garda in Dublin yesterday, and later appeared in an extradition court in the city.

The 37-year-old was remanded in custody until later this month.

He is believed to have been at a house party attended by Ms Dornan on the night of her brutal murder.

Ms Dornan was found stabbed to death in her burning house at Hazel View in Lagmore, west Belfast, last August.

It is believed she was followed by her killer from a friend's house on the night of the vicious attack.

Detectives believe she was stabbed with a 14-inch blade before the upstairs of the property was set alight.

O'Neill, who has a previous address in Summerhill Walk, Dunmurry, but is originally from Andersonstown, is to be prosecuted for murder and arson.

Detectives investigating the murder believe Ms Dornan's killer torched the property in an attempt to cover their tracks.

The property was so badly damaged by the blaze that the roof collapsed.

A young family living next door narrowly escaped injury and subsequently moved out of their property because of the extent of the damage.

Ms Dornan (30) had children aged eight, five and three.

At the time of the murder O'Neill had been on the run from Mountjoy Prison in Dublin while on temporary release.

He had been serving a sentence for a violent burglary.

However, he was rearrested by Garda in Bundoran, Co Donegal, the following week.

O'Neill has almost 90 previous convictions.

The extradition of a serving prisoner can only be secured once he has served his original jail term, and O'Neill had a number of months left on his sentence for assault and burglary.

In Northern Ireland a legal bid to transfer a suspect can only be made once a police file has been submitted to, and reviewed by, the PPS. It is a legal process that can take many months.

PPS assistant director Marianne O'Kane said: "Senior prosecutors from both the PPS's serious crime unit and appeals and international section have worked closely with the PSNI investigating team over recent months to expedite the prosecution decision in this case and commence extradition proceedings."

PSNI Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes said: "We will be seeking this man's extradition to Northern Ireland as part of our investigation into Jennifer's murder.

"We have been working closely with the Public Prosecution Service to ensure this matter is expedited as quickly as possible."

Detectives have trawled through closed-circuit television footage taken from a number of properties as part of their investigation into Ms Dornan's murder.

Following the killing, a Sinn Fein neighbour of Ms Dornan's handed over recordings of the area to the police.

The CCTV evidence also includes tapes from a nearby property owned by Turkish barber Mehmet Oner.

A source said Mr Oner's CCTV footage had picked up images of three people on the night - including one thought to be a female.

Belfast Telegraph

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