Only suspect in Jennifer Dornan murder on life support following drugs overdose
THE only suspect in the brutal murder of west Belfast woman Jennifer Dornan was on a life support machine on Tuesday night after taking an overdose on the day he was due to appear in court in Dublin to face extradition.
Raymond O'Neill (37), with a previous address in Summerhill Walk, Dunmurry, took a cocktail of drugs in his cell at Midlands Prison on Friday morning.
Relatives of Ms Dornan who had travelled to Dublin for the hearing were left distraught after the High Court was told O'Neill was unwell and would not be appearing.
They had previously described the slow pace of the extradition process as "mental torture".
Sources said the west Belfast man, who has a criminal record going back to his teens, was in a "very, very serious condition" in hospital.
He was discovered unconscious in his cell by prison staff and is thought to have consumed both illegal and prescription medication.
Authorities in Northern Ireland sought to extradite O'Neill to face charges of murder and arson in connection with the death of the mother-of-three at her home in Lagmore in August last year.
He was also accused of attempted murder in connection with neighbours who narrowly escaped injury when fire spread to their property.
Ms Dornan (30) was stabbed to death with a kitchen knife before her home was set alight in what detectives believe was an attempt to destroy evidence.
The victim's distraught children have been cared for by her mother since the murder.
Police believe they have a strong case against O'Neill who was captured on CCTV close to the scene and at several different locations on the night of the attack.
He was arrested in February on foot of a European Arrest Warrant at the gates of Dublin's Mountjoy prison where he was serving a sentence for aggravated robbery.
The career criminal had been unlawfully at large from prison the Republic at the time of Ms Dornan's murder.
A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said on Tuesday night that they could not comment on individual cases.