Family of Newry murder victims Giselle Marimon-Herrera and daughter Allison thank fundraisers
The family of a woman and her daughter who were murdered in Newry last week have thanked the people of the city and those who made donations to "help them in their hour of need".
Giselle Marimon-Herrera (37) and her 15-year-old daughter Allison, a pupil at Newry High School, lost their lives in a murder-suicide.
Three fundraising initiatives set up to help the victims' family in Colombia have so far raised more than £11,000.
Police believe that Russell Steele (38), originally from Kilmarnock in Scotland and known to friends as 'Steelie', hanged himself after strangling his partner of nine months Giselle and her daughter in a flat at Glinn Ree Court.
It is understood Steele also killed Allison's pet chihuahua in the attack, which came to light after Giselle's sister reported she had not been seen for four days.
In a statement released through the PSNI last night, the women's family thanked local people for their support.
They stated: "Following the murder of Giselle Marimon-Herrera and her daughter Allison in Newry, their family wish to thank the people of Newry for the kindness shown to them at this very sad time.
"They would also like to thank everyone who made donations to help them in their hour of need."
Yesterday, Newry Credit Union launched the Newry Repatriation Fund for Giselle and Allison, to help their family in Colombia pay for travel and repatriation costs.
The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust presented a cheque for £5,000 to the initiative.
In addition, a Gofundme page set up by Sinn Fein Youth in Newry called 'Flights for Newry murder victim's (sic) parents' has raised over £1,600.
A third page named 'Newry mum&daughter repatriation fund,' which was set up by Kim Winters, has raised more than £4,400 to pay for flights, hotel and funeral costs.
Yesterday, Scottish Pastor Burt Garrick of the Central Evangelical Church in Kilmarnock sent a message of sympathy to the family of those who lost their lives, after online footage showed Steele singing in the church choir.
"He would have been an occasional attender some five or six years ago," said Mr Garrick. "I only came here four years ago so never met him personally; he has not been back here in my time at the church.
"This has been a very tragic situation and on behalf of the people of Kilmarnock I extend sympathies to the families of those who have lost their lives."
It's believed Steele had suffered from mental health problems.
A post-mortem examination confirmed Allison had been strangled and police have said they believe her mother died the same way, although they are still awaiting conclusive findings.
Officers are treating domestic violence as a major line of enquiry amid reports that Steele was a disruptive and aggressive neighbour who was known to police. The PSNI confirmed that officers responded to a report of "rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour" on September 1, 2018.