Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland no longer shocked by horrors of murder, claims MLA after nine killings in three months

Reece Leeman, March 15
Reece Leeman, March 15
Giselle Marimon-Herrera and her daughter Allison, March 7
Alice Morrow, March 10
Darren McGurk, March 24
David Murphy, February 19
Pat Ward, February 9
Wayne Boylan, January 18
Ian Ogle
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Concerns have been expressed at the number of murders in Northern Ireland in the first three months of 2019.

So far this year there have been nine killings. That's compared to 19 during the whole of last year.

Fifteen people were murdered in 2017, while 16 murders were recorded in 2016.

Last weekend Darren McGurk (23) from Limavady became the ninth local murder victim of 2019.

Mr McGurk sustained a serious head injury following an assault at a house at Glenbeg Walk in the town on Wednesday, March 20.

He was taken to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine where he died last Sunday.

A 32-year-old man was remanded in custody at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday charged with murdering Mr McGurk.

This year's first killing was that of Wayne Boylan in Warrenpoint, Co Down, on January 18.

Mr Boylan (37) died after two masked gunmen burst into a flat on Lower Dromore Road, near the town's golf club.

The father-of-two was blasted in the head with a shotgun. A woman (21) in the flat was also injured in the attack.

Two men, aged 26 and 44, arrested on suspicion of the murder were released on bail pending further enquiries.

Nine days later Belfast loyalist Ian Ogle (45) died after being beaten and stabbed 11 times by up to five men near his Cluan Place home in east Belfast. Police have linked his killing on January 27 to a long-running feud between the victim's family and members of the UVF.

To date two men have been charged in connection with Mr Ogle's murder.

Pat Ward was found dead in an alleyway at McCrea Park in the Co Tyrone village of Clogher on February 9.

The 30-year-old, a married father of four children, was a member of the Travelling community.

Two people - a woman aged 33 and a man aged 23 - have been charged with Mr Ward's murder.

The body of 52-year-old Co Antrim farmer David Murphy was found inside his rural home on Church Road, Glenwherry, on February 19.

He had died from gunshot wounds.

He was known to police and had previously been accused of holding guns and ammunition for the UVF.

Giselle Marimon-Herrera (37) and her 15-year-old daughter Allison were found dead alongside Giselle's partner Russell Steele at a flat in Glin Ree Court, Newry, on March 7.

Ms Marimon-Herrera and her daughter died as a result of a murder-suicide.

Police believe that Steele (38) hanged himself after strangling Ms Marimon-Herrera and her daughter.

East Belfast grandmother Alice Morrow (53) was found dead in her flat at Whincroft Way in the Braniel estate on March 10.

A 42-year-old man has been charged with her murder.

Five days later Reece Leeman (21) was found collapsed on Connsbrook Drive in east Belfast after being the victim of a serious assault.

Police believe the 21-year-old was stabbed after an altercation at a property on Kyle Street.

A 28-year-old man has appeared in court charged with his murder.

SDLP policing and justice spokeswoman Dolores Kelly MLA (left) said the number of murders to date this year was "very disturbing".

"Nine murders within the first 12 weeks of the year is a very alarming statistic and merits closer examination," she said.

"The majority are alleged to have been committed by a person known to the victim and have taken place in their own homes.

"There is also the lack of a public outcry to what is happening because in Northern Ireland there are at least two generations of people who have become very desensitised to these killings.

"The shock and horror that we should be feeling on each murder has been diminished because of our own experience of conflict.

"I will be raising these murders with the Chief Constable and what we need to do in order to help prevent more."

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