Caoimhe Morgan killer jailed for at least 17 years for murder of mother-of-four

Court hears how victim “suffered a devastating attack involving multiple blows”

Caoimhe Morgan
Caoimhe Morgan

A 33-year old man who murdered his partner in her north Belfast home has been jailed for a minimum of 17 years.

Caoimhe Morgan (30) was beaten to death by her partner of six years, Taylor George McIlvenna, in December 2021 whilst two of her four children were present in the property.

As he imposed the tariff upon McIlvenna at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday, Mr Justice McFarland said Ms Morgan “suffered a devastating attack involving multiple blows, a collision with a hard surface which was almost certainly the bedroom wall, hair loss and an element of asphyxiation.”

Ms Morgan was last seen alive by her mother on December 17, 2021.

After trying without success to contact Ms Morgan the following morning, her mother called at her daughter’s Harcourt Drive home in the Oldpark area of north Belfast.

After noticing Ms Morgan's blinds were closed and the front door unlocked, she then discovered her daughter's bloodied and battered remains in an upstairs bedroom.

Both the police and ambulance were called and an examination of the scene revealed multiple blood drops and smears throughout Ms Morgan's home.

Also found at the scene were clumps of Ms Morgan's hair and impact damage to plasterboard in her bedroom.

Taylor George McIlvenna sentenced to at least 17 years

McIlvenna, from Highvale Gardens, is believed to have beaten Ms Morgan to death some time between 2am and 2.30am on December 18th whilst under the influence of cocaine.

A post mortem examination conducted on December 20, 2021 indicated Ms Morgan suffered a blunt force injury to her head which resulted in her death.

She also sustained two black eyes, a broken nose and bruising and lacerations to her lips as well as abrasions to her face.

The pathologist concluded the injuries were caused by at least ten blows, whilst an injury to her brain was consistent with her head being struck against a hard surface.

Mr Justice McFarland described the relationship between the couple at "volatile" and said McIlvenna had a "significant criminal record" consisting of 47 convictions including a prior attack against Ms Morgan.

When he murdered Ms Morgan, McIlvenna was on bail and also the subject of a Probation Order.

At around 3am on December 18, a friend of McIlvenna’s witnessed him kicking his car and a short time later, McIlvenna damaged windows at his cousin’s home then sent his relative abusive text messages.

At 7am, he arrived at his brother's home where he remained until his detention by the PSNI just after noon.

During a police interview, he refused to answer questions but provided a statement where he claimed that he called to Ms Morgan's home, found her under the influence and struck her twice before leaving the property.

At Wednesday’s tariff hearing, Mr Justice McFarland said he had read Victim Impact Statements from Ms Morgan’s loved ones.

The judge said each of the statements “set out the personal devastation suffered by the sudden death of a much-loved” woman.

He also cited several aggravating factors, one of which was that Ms Morgan was "murdered in her own home, a place where everyone is entitled to feel safe and secure."

Caoimhe Morgan
Caoimhe Morgan

Another aggravating factor highlighted by the judge was the presence of children in the house at the time of the fatal attack.

The judge also spoke of prior incidents of domestic violence which included McIlvenna attacking Ms Morgan in a fast food outlet in August 2019, as well as him “monitoring” her activities and conduct which he said were “motivated by a jealous attitude.”

Mr Justice McFarland said he had taken into consideration McIlvenna's mental health issues which included two admissions to a psychiatric unit.

Also taken into account was McIlvenna’s guilty plea to murdering Ms Morgan, which attracted a life sentence.

The Jjudge said: “This was an attack on a particularly vulnerable woman in her own home by a man with whom she was in a relationship.”

Describing the fatal attack as “devastating” and “prolonged”, the judge added that evidence indicated she was assaulted both in the downstairs and upstairs of her home - and that McIlvenna failed to summons medical assistance afterwards.

With Ms Morgan's family present in the public gallery, the senior judge imposed the minimum 17-year sentence, which McIlvenna will serve in full before he is considered eligible for release by the Parole Commissioners.

Following this, he addressed prison staff in the dock, said “he can be taken down” and McIlvenna was led back into custody in handcuffs.