‘unhelpful’ | 

PSNI slam rumours linking Natalie McNally murder to officer as suspected weapon found

Police believe Lurgan woman was murdered by someone known to her

Andrew MaddenSunday World

Police believe they have the weapon used to murder Natalie McNally.

Ms McNally (32), who was 15 weeks pregnant with a baby boy, was stabbed to death at her home in Lurgan before Christmas.

Today Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness said the suspected weapon is one of 50 pieces of evidence that officers have seized to date.

Mr McGuinness said police believe Ms McNally was murdered by someone known to her and stressed there is “no evidence” anyone else is in danger.

The detective was asked about online rumours linking Ms McNally to a serving police officer.

"They're not helpful," he replied. "We have conducted investigations into that matter and we've eliminated that person from enquiries."

He said the killing may have been a premeditated act and urged anyone with any information to come forward.

At a press conference in Carrickfergus, Mr McGuinness said: "I'm still keeping an open mind, but my main line of inquiry is that the murder was committed by someone that Natalie knew and indeed was comfortable allowing into her home… I believe this was a targeted attack towards Natalie McNally.”

In regard to the murder weapon, the detective added: "I believe I have recovered what was the weapon used to murder Natalie McNally."

Mr McGuinness said he believed the weapon was from Ms McNally's home and was not brought to the property by her killer.

The detective reiterated his appeal for help identifying a man seen arriving at and leaving the street where Ms McNally lived on the night of the murder.

"Our efforts to identify the man captured in the footage remains ongoing and I would appeal to anyone who believes that they recognise this person to get in touch," he said.

"Someone must know who he is and I would appeal to you to do the decent thing to get in touch with me. Do you really want to protect a man who could kill a woman and her unborn baby? I believe Natalie knew her killer and police have no information to suggest a risk to other women."

The senior officer said that, from the behaviour of the man in the footage, police believe he had been to Ms McNally’s home before.

Mr McGuinness said officers were keen to build up a picture of Ms McNally's lifestyle, including her friends and relationships.

“I would also appeal to anyone who knows Natalie, or has interacted with her, in and outside of the social media space, to get in touch. Information you have may be crucial to my investigation,” he said.

He said officers have so far conducted 200 house-to-house inquiries, seized 3,000 hours of CCTV footage and sent 50 items for forensic examination.

"The deaths of Natalie and her unborn baby have left unimaginable pain and heartache to a loving and devoted family whose hearts are simply broken," he said.

"We remain determined to bring her killer to justice and I'm asking anyone with any information to do the right thing and to speak up."

Mr McGuinness said he believes that Natalie knew her killer.

He added: "I believe that there was a pre-existing some form of relationship with her killer and someone that she was content to allow into her home, so I believe this was a targeted attack towards Natalie McNally."

He said he did not believe that Ms McNally's door was locked when her killer arrived.

"I am keeping an open mind whether this was a pre-planned attack or something that developed when the killer arrived at the address," Mr McGuinness added.

“I would like to thank members of the public for their help so far, and again highlight a reward of up to £20,000 from Crimestoppers, who are a charity and are independent of the police.

“The reward is being offered for information given directly to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Natalie’s murder. Crimestoppers take information completely anonymously, meaning they will never ask for or store any of your personal details."

Speaking in the wake of her murder, Natalie’s brother Niall McNally appealed to her killer to “do the decent thing” and confess.

"We were all looking forward to welcoming the family’s first grandchild and nephew or niece into the world next year. Her killer has denied Nats the opportunity of being a mummy,” he said, adding that he wanted to appeal “on behalf of our family to bring any information to police or Crimestoppers to help them put Nats’ killer behind bars.”

One of Natalie’s best friends, Jayne Doran, penned an open letter to the “sorry excuse of a human” who killed her.

“I only write this to you because I want you to know you will be found and you will answer for what you’ve done,” she wrote.

“Natalie is what matters.”

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