15 murders in Northern Ireland in 2017

Jayne Toal Reat, a 43-year-old mother and nurse, who died on Christmas Day

THERE were 22 violent deaths investigated by the PSNI in 2017 - with 15 of those murder investigations, police statistics reveal.

The figure is down slightly on 2016 when 16 murders were recorded.

The tragic death of Jayne Toal Reat (43), a nurse at Craigavon Area Hospital, died after an incident at a house in Mornington, Lisburn, on December 25.

A 19-year-old man has been charged with the murder.

The death on Christmas Day brought to 15 the number of murder investigations in 2017.

Of the 22 investigated deaths, five were later reduced from murder to manslaughter investigations.

This included the death of Paul Curran in March in Lurgan.

Some other sudden deaths were later deemed not suspicious after an initial investigation.

In January Anita Downey (51) was found dead at a house in the Toberhewney Hall area of Lurgan, Co Armagh.

A man has appeared in court charged in connection with her death.

Richard Miskelly died during an incident at a house on the Bangor Road in Newtownards, Co Down, in February.

The first paramilitary murder of the year was that of high-profile loyalist George Gilmore in Carrickfergus in March.

He was shot dead in a killing linked to an ongoing feud between loyalist factions in the area.

The following month Paul McCready (31) died from injuries in a fight in a Donegall Street in Belfast city centre.

It is alleged he was the victim of a so-called one punch attack.

Mother-of-two Lu Na McKinney drowned during a boating holiday close to Devenish Island in Fermanagh on April 13.

The victim from Co Donegal, was holidaying with her husband and their children, a boy aged 13 and girl aged 11 on Lough Erne.

Originally treated as an accident, in November police announced her death was now being treated as murder and a 41-year-old man has been charged with her death.

In May Concepta Leonard was found dead at her home in Maguiresbridge, Co Fermanagh. Her ex-partner Peadar Phair's body was also found at the scene.

Ms Leonard's son was injured in the attack which was said to have been a murder-suicide.

Ms Leonard had secured a court non-molestation order banning Phair, who had a history of violence against women, from contacting her just weeks before she was killed.

In May husband and wife Michael and Marjorie Cawdrey, both 83, were found in their at Upper Ramone Park home in Portadown after being stabbed to death.

Police said they had been killed in a "very brutal attack". A man who had been admitted to a nearby hospital earlier that day was arrested in connection with the attack.

The feud within loyalism was to claim another victim in May.

Colin Horner (35)was shot dead moments after putting his three-year-old son in the back of his car at a supermarket carpark in Bangor, Co Down.

The murder has been linked a loyalist feud in Carrickfergus among rival UDA factions.

In June Hazem Ghreir was stabbed at Downshire Place in Belfast city centre. Originally from Syria he had been living in the Carrickfergus area.

In August Lithuanian national Eugenjus Marauskas, was found dead in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

His family, who are living as refugees in Turkey, launched a crowdfunding funding campaign to repatriate his body.

In August Eugenjus Marauskas, a Lithuanian national, was found dead in Lurgan.

His body was found in a block of flats on Victoria Street in the town.

The flats are the same complex where 31-year-old Laura Marshall was found dead in 2016.

In October 56-year-old Laurence Shaw was found dead at his home in Larne, Co Antrim.

In October Anne O'Neill, who was 51, died from injuries following an incident at a house on Ardmore Avenue in Finaghy in west Belfast.

In the same month the body of Eugeniusz Sinko was discovered at a rural cottage on Townhill Road outside Rasharkin in Co Antrim.

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