Belfast Telegraph

Five suspects held as family grieves for murder victim Deborah Hunter

By Rebecca Black

The family of a mother-of-five who was murdered in east Belfast have told of their deep grief.

Deborah Hunter (50) was found dead two weeks ago at her home on Finmore Court, off the lower Newtownards Road.

Yesterday detectives from the Serious Crime Branch who are investigating the murder arrested five people.

Three men and two women were arrested in the swoop.

The men are aged 52, 46 and 44. The women are aged 44 and 46.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Dickson revealed yesterday that police were now treating Ms Hunter's death as murder.

Shortly before Ms Hunter's death, she was badly battered by a gang. The PSNI has released a photograph of Ms Hunter's bruised face after that attack.

Officers had still been investigating what happened to her when she was found dead on Thursday, November 6.

Sources did not indicate there was any paramilitary involvement. Last week, detectives based at Ladas Drive in east Belfast said they were keen to speak to anyone who had spoken to or had seen Ms Hunter between October 7 and November 6.

Rev Mervyn Gibson from Westbourne Presbyterian Community Church, close to where Ms Hunter lived, said her family were in shock and were grieving.

Ms Hunter's family have connections with his church.

Rev Gibson said: "The family has authorised me to speak on their behalf. They are shocked, sad and grieving for the loss of a loving daughter, mother and sister."

He added: "The family are in deep mourning and have requested that their privacy be respected at this difficult time."

PUP councillor John Kyle runs an advice centre on the Newtownards Road close to where Ms Hunter lived.

"The feeling in the area is one of sadness," he said. "Contrary to what police said she was not well known in the area, but people are shocked and feel sad about what has happened."

Belfast Telegraph

From Belfast Telegraph