Murder victim Katie Brankin’s best friend has said she is struggling to come to terms with the killing of the mother-of-one, who was found dead at a holiday campsite.
Katie (37) was stabbed to death at Swanns Bridge Glamping on Seacoast Road, just outside Limavady, Co Londonderry.
On Thursday, her partner Thomas Davidson (53), from Collinward Avenue in Newtownabbey, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates court charged with her murder.
Diane Kane, also from Newtownabbey, told Sunday Life how they had become best friends in just a few weeks.
“I actually met Katie about four weeks ago in hospital. She made a real and huge impact on my life,” she added.
“We got to know each other that well we were finishing each other’s sentences [and] sharing clothes.
“She was just an amazing person and a beautiful soul. She was wonderful inside and out.
“It’s just so surreal. It just won’t process in my brain yet. Sometimes, during the day, I might forget about it and then it just comes rushing back.
“I just get this feeling of ‘Oh my days, she’s dead. What on earth?’ It’s just awful. Such a tragedy.
“Her wee baby is going to be an orphan now because of what happened... oh my goodness.
“We had become really close. We had planned to go on trips to the park together with our children. She was going to come round and help me paint my flat.
“We had made so many god-damned plans and now there’s nothing. I feel sort of numb over it. I think I’m still in shock.”
Katie, a university graduate, was originally from Finaghy in south Belfast. Ms Kane (35) met her when they were on the same hospital ward for a number of weeks.
Despite their short time together, they formed a strong bond.
“We were both in-patients and we shared a room together for a good couple of weeks. We were like sisters,” she explained.
“When the nurses came to tell me about it, I knew that they didn’t want to say what had happened.
“They wanted to let me know before I’d seen it on social media.
“My nurse came in to see me. She asked me to sit down and looked really sad, so I knew something was up.
“I knew it was about Katie. I thought maybe she’d hurt herself, but she [the nurse]sat me down and told me she’d been murdered.
“I just could not believe it. I was in shock, shaking. I was just completely stunned. I had no tears at that time.
“I was hoping that I would wake up and this would all have been a huge nightmare, but obviously it’s not.
“She got out of hospital just before me and we were supposed to be out now making memories with each other, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen.
“People might think four weeks is a short time, but when you’re with someone 24/7, it’s a big deal and you do really get to know someone.”