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Catch 'animal' who killed my daughter

Family and friends of Jennifer Dornan gathered outside her home at Hazel View, Lagmore, where a murder investigation has been launched following her death in a house fire in the early hours of Sunday morning. Pictures by Cliff Donaldson.

THE father of murdered mother-of-three Jennifer Dornan last night appealed for help in catching 'the animal' who killed her.

Ms Dornan (30) was found dead following a blaze at her home in Hazel View in the Lagmore area of west Belfast early on Sunday.

Police last night launched a murder inquiry following a post mortem examination.

Ms Dornan leaves three young children Martin (eight), Jayden (five) and Abbey (three), who were not in the house on the night of the fire.

At a vigil outside her home last night, hundreds of people, including Ms Dornan's close family and friends, paid tribute to her.

In an emotional appeal, her father Stephen hit out at the "animal who killed an innocent, defenceless woman with three kids".

He said if people with information came forward, the person responsible for the killing "would be off the streets tomorrow before he does this on someone else".

Parish priest Fr Martin Graham led prayers for Ms Dornan.

One of her friends, Cara McCann, sang Ms Dornan's favourite song 'Dancing in the Sky'.

Friend Tanya Watson said she was hugely popular.

"Jennifer was one in a million and everybody here knew it," she said. "Everybody here loved her and nobody had a bad word to say about her."

Ms Dornan's children are currently being cared for by relatives.

Initial reports suggested the blaze started in the bedroom of Ms Dornan's home.

The fire was so intense that the roof of the house was destroyed and the windows were shattered.

A passing taxi driver noticed the fire at about 5am on Sunday and called the emergency services.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes, who is leading the murder investigation, said her family, particularly her children, are devastated by the killing.

"Quite simply, they don’t understand what has happened to their mum," he said.

He said Ms Dornan had been on a night out with friends at the Devenish complex on Finaghy Road North on Saturday night.

They left at around 1.30am and went back to a friend’s house close to her own home. At about 3am, Ms Dornan left to walk to her own home.

He appealed to anyone who saw Ms Dornan in the Devenish, or who saw her walking in Hazel View between 3am and 4am on Sunday morning to come forward.

“At around this time a small silver car is seen speeding away from Hazel View. This could be completely unconnected but we need the driver or any passengers to come forward," he said.

Sinn Féin assembly member Jennifer McCann said news of the murder investigation had "sent shock waves through the local community".

She appealed to people at the vigil to come forward with information that would "lead to the arrest of the person or persons who so callously took her life in this way, leaving three children without a mother".

"I can't begin to describe how that must feel for the family," she said.

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