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Domestic violence warning after murder of Caoimhe Morgan in north Belfast

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Caoimhe Morgan

Caoimhe Morgan

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Caoimhe Morgan

It is “guaranteed” another woman will be killed as a result of domestic abuse if more is not done to stop the attacks, the Green Party leader has said in the wake of the murder of Caoimhe Morgan in north Belfast.

The 30-year-old’s body was discovered at a property in Harcourt Drive, between the Oldpark and Cliftonville Roads, on Saturday morning. It is understood she suffered serious injuries.

A 30-year-old man arrested on suspicion of the mother-of-four’s murder remained in police custody last night.

Ms Morgan is the 12th woman to be murdered in Northern Ireland since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was revealed last month that proportionately more women are murdered here as a result of domestic violence than in any other part of western Europe.

In the whole of Europe, only Romania matches Northern Ireland’s toll of 0.43 killings per 100,000 inhabitants, which is three times that of England and Wales.

South Belfast MLA and Green Party NI leader Clare Bailey, who sits on Stormont’s all-party group on domestic and sexual violence, called on men to start talking to each other to try and find out why so domestic abuse is becoming so prevalent.

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“I think we are all aware of domestic violence and I think the education is getting out there,” she said. “We’re becoming a lot more aware of what it is.

“It’s not just physical violence, it’s the whole element of abuse and control within relationships.

“I would be calling for men to start speaking out. What is it — this male aggression against women? Why do women continually have to fear for our lives and fear for our safety?

“It’s not just in our homes. It’s everywhere we go. It’s walking the streets, it’s going about our daily business, it’s in our workplaces, it’s in every aspect of our lives.”

Ms Bailey said there is a “guarantee” another woman will be killed in what should be safe spaces in their lives but was glad to see the Assembly pass a domestic abuse bill.

It means domestic abuse offences here will no longer be limited to physically violent behaviour and makes coercive control an offence in Northern Ireland for the first time.

“Northern Ireland now has its own laws but laws are not enough,” stated Ms Bailey. “Laws can only deal with people once they've murdered and done that heinous crime.

“We need a lot of education in our schools, we need proper RSE [relationships education] in our schools and people need to know what is a healthy relationship and what is not a healthy relationship.

“There’s a huge amount of work still to go there.

"We need to do something here with men. Men need to speak to each other.

“I know that this is not all men by any stretch of the imagination so men need to speak to each other about how they deal with this toxic masculinity and this level of aggression and control that seems to be prevalent.”

Meanwhile, tributes were paid on social media to Ms Morgan following her murder.

Joanne Lavery, a relative of Ms Morgan, paid tribute to her on Saturday evening with a post above her photograph.

“RIP Caoimhe Morgan. Thinking of my aunt Kate, Big Philip, cousins and your four babies,” she wrote. “Heart-breaking news, still can’t believe it. Rest easy beautiful.”

SDLP MLA for North Belfast Nichola Mallon also expressed her sadness at the news of a murder.

“The local community is deeply shocked to learn of the suspected murder of a woman in Harcourt Drive in north Belfast this morning,” she said.

“This news is disturbing and I would urge anyone with any information to pass it to the police.

“My thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends at this extremely distressing time as they cope with the worst news any of us can imagine.”

Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney said: “I am appealing for anyone who was in the area of Harcourt Drive and who witnessed anything or anyone with any information that can assist my investigation contact detectives on 101 quoting reference 790 18/12/21.

“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

In a tweet on Saturday evening about Ms Morgan’s killing and the shooting of Mark Hall in the west of the city, the PSNI said speculation linking the two murders was unhelpful.


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