Northern Ireland news

Violent deaths total rises to highest in four years

Allison Morris
29 December, 2015 01:00

The number of violent deaths in Northern Ireland in 2015 has increased to its highest total in four years with an increase in paramilitary murders to a three year high.

A total of 19 people were killed in 2015, up on 2014 which saw the lowest number of violent deaths recorded since the outbreak of the Troubles with 13 murders reported.

The year started with the murder of popular Ballymena businessman Nelson Cheung who was killed during a violent robbery. His wife Winnie was also injured during the attack at Caddy Road in Randalstown.

The take away owner was stabbed during the attack. Three men have since been charged with murdering the 65-year-old and attempting to murder his wife.

The year ended with 20-year-old Christopher Meli being beaten to death by a mob in the Twinbook estate in west Belfast on December 12. Three teenagers have been charged in connection with the murder of the father-of-one.

He is one of three people to have lost their lives within a mile of each other west Belfast. In May 22-year-old Eamon Magee junior was killed while visiting the home of a female friend in Summerhill Park, Twinbrook.

The son of former WBU welterweight champion Eamon Magee snr, he was stabbed to death in the garden of the house as he walked outside to check on a pizza delivery by a killer police say lay in wait for him.

Orhan Koca, who is Turkish and whose address was given as no fixed abode, has been charged with stabbing the personal trainer who was also studying engineering at university.

In August mother-of-three Jennifer Dornan was murdered at her home in the Lagmore area of west Belfast, her killer stabbed her to death before setting fire to her home in an attempt to destroy the evidence.

Police have said they have said they are not seeking anyone else in relation to the murder after a 37-year-old suspect, Raymond O'Neill, was arrested in the Republican on an outstanding arrest warrant.

O'Neill was `awol' from prison in the south at the time of the murder, the PSNI have applied for a European arrest warrant to have the west Belfast man extradited to face charges in relation to the murder of the popular young mum.

In February 63-year-old Bernard McGinley, a member of the Traveller community, was shot as he attended a wedding at St Mary's Church in Newtownbutler. A second man was injured in the gun attack outside the church. A father and son have been charged in connection with the murder.

In the same month the remains of 61-year-old grandmother Pauline Carmichael were found on the shoreline of Lough Neagh, a man from Antrim has been charged with her murder.

In April 23-year-old Kyle Neil was found dead in a car in south Belfast, he had been at a party in Comber the evening before, a post mortem examinations revealed he had been stabbed to death. One man was charged with murder and a woman charged with assisting an offender.

Also in April 69-year-old Matt Shirley, who was known as Matha, was discovered at a property in the Drumtara area of Ballymena he had died following an assault at a party.

In June of this year Paul McCauley tragically lost his life nine years after being left in a vegetative state following a sectarian attack at Chapel Road in Derry. The civil servant had required 24-hour care since the attack in July 2006, police have since reopened a murder investigation and one man has been charged.

The following month leading loyalist Colin 'Bap' Lindsay died after being attacked by a man wielding a samurai sword, his friend Stanley Wightman also badly injured in the attack and died later in hospital, one man has been charged with the double murder.

Three of the year's murders involved foreign nationals working in Northern Ireland. In January, Mohsin Bhatti was stabbed multiple times in the Botanic area of south Belfast, he had been living in the city for a year having moved from Pakistan. A man has been charged with the murder.

In October, the remains of 32-year-old Gedimanas Stauskas from Lithuania were discovered in a garage in Coalisland. The murder was connected to a previous incident during which a man from Lithuania was shot in the leg.

Lija Arustamova (52) originally from Latvia was killed at her home in Portavogie in December - her 25-year-old son has appeared in court charged with the murder.

In October the badly beaten remains of 34-year-old Marcell Seeley jnr was discovered at a flat in Lurgan. He had been kicked and stamped to death. A man has been charged with his murder.

Vulnerable pensioner Eugene Carr died in hospital in November following an attack at his home in Clogharevan Park in Bessbrook in August. Police believe he may have been victim of a savage aggravated burglary.

The number of paramilitary linked deaths has also increased in the last year from three murders to just one the previous year.

The year started with the murder of Brian McIlhagga in Ballymoney. The 42-year-old was beaten with iron bars and shot in the leg by a masked gang outside a house at Riverview Park in the town on January 5. He died at the scene from his injuries. No one has been charged with the murder that was carried out by the hard line North Antrim UDA.

Two of the most high profile killings of the year were that of Gerard 'Jock' Davison and later the revenge attack on Kevin McGuigan.

The former IRA commander was murdered in the Markets area of south Belfast in May, the most high profile republican to have been shot dead in over 20-years.

In August father of nine Kevin McGuigan, himself a former IRA prisoner was shot dead outside his home in the Short Strand in what was believed to have been a revenge attack carried out by close associates of Davison.

The murder caused a political crisis after the PSNI said they believed there was Provisional IRA involvement and the Ulster Unionist Party pulled out of the Stormont executive in protest, followed by the DUP operating an in out ministerial policy ending with the 'fresh start' deal that included monitoring of future paramilitary activity.

29 December, 2015 01:00 Northern Ireland news

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