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Murdered Northern Ireland man Nathan Gibson's fiancee unable to see their son (7) due to lockdown


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Nathan and Joanna were due to marry in September

Nathan and Joanna were due to marry in September

Nathan and Joanna were due to marry in September

The fiancee of murdered father Nathan Gibson has been forced to self-isolate from their young son amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Joanna Black (25) is a senior carer for the Lucas Love Healthcare agency and has been balancing the grief of losing Nathan with her vital work looking after others.

Her partner's body was discovered on a towpath near Lake Road in Craigavon by police on Thursday, January 16.

When the killer walked to the couple's home, a short distance away, Joanna jumped out of a top-floor window, breaking her right ankle.

She has since returned to work, but the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has meant she has been unable to be with her seven-year-old son John, who has been judged to be vulnerable to the disease.

He has been staying with Joanna's mother during the health crisis, but he leaves presents for his mum when she comes to visit.

"I actually returned to work three weeks after Nathan's death because I got the cast on my ankle off," Joanna told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Work has been hard because there's a lot more stress now with the virus present.

"People are going home to their families, but I'm going to an empty house. I'm living in permanent isolation.

"I know people at work are very scared to be going home to their children.

"John has been staying at my mum's because I've been working.

When I'm at work, I feel like I'm me again and like it never happened, but when I get home again I realise that my life has completely changed Joanna Black

"I'm not coping very well, but when I'm at work I'm fine because I'm needed, I'm important and I can distract myself.

"John would be very vulnerable to the virus.

"He leaves presents on the doorstep for me.

"It is hard and I can't even look at him without crying."

Joanna mainly works 12-hour night shifts and has been unable to sleep since Nathan's death.

When she arrives home, she feels totally alone.

She said she was dealing with her grief over Nathan's death on an "hour by hour basis".

She also admitted she would visit the site where he was killed around six times a day and tell him what was going on in her life.

"One minute you're fine, but then I'm in so much pain and I'm numb. It just goes up and down," Joanna explained.

"When I'm at work, I feel like I'm me again and like it never happened, but when I get home again I realise that my life has completely changed.

I'm just scared to sleep now, so it's easier for me to do the night shifts Joanna Black

"I had slept for two nights a few weeks after it happened, but on both nights I had nightmares just reliving what happened.

"I'm just scared to sleep now, so it's easier for me to do the night shifts."

The couple were due to get married on their 10th anniversary on September 28.

To mark the event, Joanna will wear her wedding dress and read her vows next to where Nathan was killed, before stepping into Craigavon Lake to bring some "closure".

"I don't want to bring my dress home to look at it, so I'll walk into the lake as a closure and a spiritual rebirth kind of thing," she said.

"After that we'll just have a family gathering. It's not a wedding anymore - it's just a celebration of our love.

"It's better than sitting at home all day thinking about everything."

Joanna also said cemeteries being closed because of the pandemic had been very hard on Nathan's sister, Shantelle.

However, she has not been able to bring herself to visit his final resting place.

"I do visit the steps where he was killed," said Joanna.

"I tell him all about work and everything going on.

"It should be a dark and scary place to go to, but he wouldn't want that.

"I don't want our child to grow up scared and thinking not to go there because it's a bad place.

"We have decorated it and made it beautiful.

"All the kids in the family go and leave gifts and flowers and they don't feel scared to do that."

Joanna's support network since Nathan's death and during the coronavirus pandemic has been vital for her.

"Sometimes it's the people who you would have never thought of that are always checking on you," she said.

"I'm always starting work when the applause on the doorsteps happens on Thursdays.

"I have seen the videos on Facebook and it would bring a tear to your eye."


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