horror | 

Natalie McNally’s father says he struggled to identify body because of horrific injuries

‘She was brutally murdered. He left her there, he knew she was either dead or dying and calmly walked out’

Ciaran O'NeillSunday World

Natalie McNally’s father yesterday said he struggled to identify his daughter’s body because of the horrific injuries she suffered.

The 32-year-old, who was 15 weeks pregnant with a baby boy, was beaten and stabbed to death at her home in Lurgan, Co Armagh on December 18.

Despite a huge manhunt, no one has yet been charged with Natalie’s murder.

As her family yesterday renewed their appeal for people to come forward with any information, Natalie’s father, Noel, said they believe people close to her killer may be protecting him.

“Somebody knows that fella, whether it’s his wife, whether it’s his girlfriend, his mother, father or friends, they are bound to know,” he told the Sunday World.

“The police think the person that killed Natalie knew her, so these people must know this fella knew Natalie.

“You don’t go and kill someone as brutally as that and just walk about normal and think nothing of it.

“People may be watching this fella and saying, ‘he knew Natalie, could it have been him that done it?’

“I think they must know, you can’t go and do something like that and then just go home and act normally.”

Noel’s plea for information

Mr McNally spoke about the heartbreaking moment when he had to identify his beloved daughter’s body.

“It was just like you see on the TV, they pulled the curtain back, but I had to look about three or four times before I could say yes definitely that was Natalie.

“What he done to her. He battered her, he hit her over the head with something, he strangled her, she had bones broke in her neck too, and then he stabbed her to death.

“He didn’t just come in and just stab her, it was a frenzied attack.”

“She was brutally murdered. He left her there, he knew she was either dead or dying and calmly walked out,” added Natalie’s mother, Bernie.

The PSNI have released CCTV footage of the suspected killer walking away from Natalie’s home at Silverwood Green.

The CCTV footage shows a man entering the street at 8.52pm on December 18 and then leaving at 9.30pm.

The man was carrying a rucksack when he arrived in Silverwood Green and appeared to be wearing white footwear, possibly trainers.

Natalie’s body was discovered the following evening by a friend who was concerned when they were unable to contact her.

After the alarm was raised at Natalie’s house, her dog, River, ran from the house and was knocked down.

Natalie, who also had two cats, was an animal lover but, thankfully, River is now well on the road to full recovery.

Officers investigating Natalie’s murder have so far conducted 200 house-to-house inquiries, seized 3,000 hours of CCTV footage and sent 50 items for forensic examination. Searches were also carried out on Friday at a golf course beside Natalie’s home.

Two arrests have been made in connection with Natalie’s murder but no-one has been charged.

Police said they believed they had recovered the weapon used in the murder and that it came from her home.

Investigating officers believe Natalie, who worked for Translink, knew her killer, that they had a pre-existing relationship and that she was comfortable allowing him into her home.

Police also believe it was a targeted attack towards Natalie.

On the night she died, Natalie had watched the World Cup final with her father at her parents’ house before returning the short distance to her home.

Mr McNally said they had no reason to suspect anything was wrong.

“We were very close to our daughter, especially her mum, and if she had any worries about anyone she would have said.

“She was so happy and content and things were falling into place for her.”

Mrs McNally said: “If we had thought she was in any type of danger we would have obviously told her to stay with us.”

Police will today distribute leaflets in Lurgan asking for anyone with information to come forward.

Natalie

Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness, who is leading the murder investigation, said every piece of information was important.

“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.

“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.”

Mrs McNally yesterday said they were so thankful to those who have comforted them since Natalie’s death.

“The support we have received from the community, our neighbours and our families is carrying us through,” she said.

“You don’t realise how good your families are until times like this. It gives us great comfort.”

Mr McNally said they would never get “peace” until Natalie’s killer is caught. “Every time my phone rings I hope it is the police to say they have got him,” he said.


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