Belfast Telegraph

Violent offender has history of brutal attacks on women

By Chris Kilpatrick

Stephen Cahoon has a history of violent attacks on women - including one in which he left his young victim almost unrecognisable.

He was jailed in 1999 for beating teenager Lynne McGall.

The victim, from Ballymena, was left for dead in a field by Cahoon.

In the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland, Cahoon was brought to court on DNA evidence after his chewing gum was found in Ms McGall's hair.

He was also convicted of beating former partner Samantha Brown and threatening to kill her.

She previously said of him: "I'm lucky he didn't kill me. He's a maniac."

In total, Cahoon admitted 15 charges against the two women, including grievous bodily harm and assault.

He was jailed for three years for the attacks on the two women, but following a campaign by the Sunday Life newspaper this was increased to five years.

Following his conviction in 2012 for the murder of Jean Quigley, his two earlier victims said they hoped he would remain behind bars for a long time.

Ms McGall - who had been walking along the Broughshane Road in Ballymena when randomly attacked by Cahoon - said: "I am glad that he will not be back on the streets for a very long time, if ever, and that he can never again harm another woman.

"It was a terrible experience but I want to get on with my life."

Ms Brown added: "I'm delighted that he (Cahoon) won't be in a position to abuse women for a long, long time.

"However, it's terrible that poor Jean had to lose her life before any action was taken against him. Not only has he robbed Jean's children of a mother, he has robbed her family and friends of a beautiful person. I've had to live with the consequences of his actions against us and this has obviously impacted on the lives of our families."

Jean Quigley was last seen on CCTV buying pizza the night before her death. It later emerged she had told friends she was living in fear and was planning to move when she was killed.

In the aftermath of Jean's death, neighbours set up a fund to help her four children, then aged from five to 12. A series of candlelit vigils were also staged in the area in Jean's memory.

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