Mourners told young mum's killer has torn 'family apart'

A sister of Jennifer Dornan at yesterday's funeral in west Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell

MOURNERS at the funeral of murder victim Jennifer Dornan heard yesterday that a "family's hearts have been torn apart".

Fr Martin Graham also told the many friends and relatives gathered at Christ the Redeemer Church on the outskirts of west Belfast that Jennifer was a "vibrant human being with a love of life".

The popular mother-of-three was found in the bedroom of her burnt-out home at Hazel View in the Lagmore area in the early hours of Sunday after a taxi driver raised the alarm.

It is thought she was stabbed to death and her killer set fire to the upstairs of the house to destroy the evidence.

The property was gutted in the fire and the next door house, where a family were asleep at the time, was also damaged.

Friends and family gathered at first outside the victim's mother Teresa Dornan's home in Ligonel in north Belfast yesterday before making their way to Lagmore where hundreds of friends, many of them dressed in Ms Dornan's favourite colour pink, had gathered.

The 30-year-old's children, also dressed in brightly coloured clothing, were comforted by family members.

Five-year-old Jayden carried a picture of his mother while Ms Dornan's eldest son Martin (8) was comforted by his grandmother, and her daughter Abbie (3) was carried by her aunt Claire, the victim's sister.

As Requiem Mass was taking place, Ms Dornan's home less than two miles away remained closed off as a crime scene while police continue to hunt for her killer.

Parish priest Fr Graham said: "Whoever did this to Jennifer has turned her death, which was cold-hearted and callous already, into something that was wicked and obscene.

"A family home has been destroyed as her family's hearts have been torn apart."

He described Jennifer as a "vibrant human being with a love of life and a joy and energy that attracted many friends".

"She enjoyed life so much and she was the life and soul of any party.

"Jennifer knew what she meant to a great many people and she enjoyed company. She was quick and razor sharp in mind and in tongue.

"She gave everyone plenty to laugh and smile about and she never had to try hard.

"Her nature, her personality, was one that even with her own troubles and worries she could still smile and help others to do the same.

"This world is the poorer now that Jennifer has left it, and with her buoyant personality it will also be so much quieter."

Ms Dornan's father Stephen was among six pallbearers yesterday, but her partner Martin Smyth is in prison and was not released to attend the funeral.

He did pay tribute to his partner in a memorial message, saying: "I know the one I have lost, my life will never be the same. The moment you left me my heart was broke in two."

Following Requiem Mass the cortege made its way to Belfast city cemetery for burial.


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