Family of woman who took own life after alleged sex abuse by man from church call for case review
Shauna Reilly was 23 when she died by suicide in 2016. Seven weeks later, her sister Michelle (33), unable to live without her, also took her own life
The family of a woman who took her own life after allegedly being sexually abused by a man who spotted her in a church wants the PSNI to review her case.
It comes amid new claims the man may have engaged in other “predatory behaviour”.
Shauna Reilly, from Enniskillen, was 23 when she died by suicide in 2016. Seven weeks later, her sister Michelle (33), unable to live without her, also took her own life.
Having spotted her at a church she didn’t usually attend, the man contacted her online.
He spoke of his faith and persuaded her to allow him to visit her home, but it is claimed that instead of praying he dragged Shauna upstairs, assaulting her and bruising her arms.
The man was arrested and questioned by police about the alleged assault but initially denied it. When a forensic examination confirmed there had been “penetration”, he admitted having sex with Shauna but insisted it had been “consensual”, which her family denies.
Now, the family’s lawyer has written to the PSNI to ask for Shauna’s file to be reopened.
Barry O’Donnell, of KRW Law in Belfast, said he understood the man “may have been involved in similar predatory behaviour on other young females which was reported to police”.
He added: “We respectfully request that the investigation and evidence are reviewed and our client updated accordingly.”
The mystery around the circumstances of Shauna’s final few months was uncovered by her mother Jacqueline when she found her daughter’s diary and mobile phone.
Shauna was vulnerable and had a dependency on alcohol and turned to faith to help her.
On her phone were dozens of messages from the man, who described himself as a member of a church, offering to “help” her.
One message read: “Tell me about you putting your trust in the Lord... let me know if you would like to pray any time.”
In her diary, Shauna articulated her fear of not being believed, her anxiety at what she had experienced and her suicidal thoughts.
“I can’t speak. I’m searching for words, but the words in my vocabulary are all over the place. It’s impossible. I think writing helps me. But it’s obviously not helped enough,” she wrote
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