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£5k raised to repatriate body of murder victim to native Latvia 


Ludmila Poletelova

Ludmila Poletelova

Photopress Belfast

Ludmila Poletelova

An appeal to raise money to repatriate murder victim Ludmila Poletelova to her native Latvia has surpassed its target just a day after it was opened.

More than £5,000 had been donated by yesterday afternoon by over 250 people — well above the £3,000 target initially set out in the fundraiser.

Ms Poletelova (61) was found dead in her flat on Lodge Road in Limavady on Friday afternoon.

A woman has been arrested on suspicion of her murder.

The victim has been remembered as someone who was “part of the community” since moving to Limavady in 2006.

The GoFundMe page has been organised by local SDLP councillor Ashleen Schenning.

Ms Schenning said local people had described Ms Poletelova as a lovely lady, someone who cared about others and who was a hard worker.

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“She spent most of her working life here as part of the hospitality sector, working in several restaurants in both Limavady and Ballykelly,” she said.

“She worked hard and in doing so helped to support her family back home in Latvia.

"Ludmila also gave up some of her time to help out in local charity shops in our community.”

Ms Schenning said the fundraiser is intended to lessen the expense of repatriating Ms Poletelova’s body to Latvia.

She added: “Her family are facing the most difficult time dealing with the horrific manner in which she was murdered and losing their much-loved mother, sister and aunt.

“I would appeal to everyone to donate no matter how small, the repatriation and funeral costs will amount to thousands of pounds, and we only have a short time to raise the much-needed funds.

"Hopefully Limavady and Northern Ireland will show Ludmila’s family the fantastic community she had become a part of and loved so much.”

Police have appealed for information after the discovery of Ms Poletelova’s body.

She was not seen by family or friends since April 19 and a post-mortem examination concluded she had died as a result of blows to her head.

The fundraising page will remain open until Friday, when the funds will be donated to the family to help pay for her repatriation.

Speaking earlier this week, Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald said the murder had shocked the community.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with her family, friends and loved ones at this time,” she said.

“The PSNI has now launched a murder inquiry and I would encourage anyone with information which can help to get in contact with the police.”

DUP MLA George Robinson offered his condolences to the victim’s family.

“I want to express my sympathies to the family and friends of Ludmila at what is a very tragic and difficult time,” he said.

“I want to assure them, wherever they are in the world, my thoughts and prayers are with them.

"Ludmila was well-known and there is a palpable shock in the town on her death.

“Such evil and brutality can never be justified and I cannot begin to understand how anyone can be so violent.

"Such mindless behaviour is not something that Limavady is used to or wants.”

To donate to the fund, visit the Let's help bring Ludmila home page on GoFundMe.

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