Northern Ireland

Caoimhe Morgan murder: Court hears two of her children were at home when she was killed

Caoimhe Morgan (30) was beaten to death her partner of six years, Taylor George McIlvenna, in December 2021

Caoimhe Morgan
Caoimhe Morgan's body was found at a property in Harcourt Drive in Belfast

A north Belfast mother-of-four murdered in her home by her partner was a “young woman who adored her children”, a court has heard.

Caoimhe Morgan (30) was beaten to death by Taylor George McIlvenna in December 2021.

During a plea hearing at Belfast Crown Court, it emerged two of her children were at home when she was murdered and her battered remains were discovered by her mother.

McIlvenna (32), from Highvale Gardens, has been handed a life sentence.

Taylor George McIlvenna was previously handed a life sentence for the murder of Caoimhe Morgan

After listening to submissions from both the Crown and defence, Mr Justice McFarland said he would impose the tariff at a later date.

Crown barrister Liam McCollum KC said Ms Morgan was last seen alive by her mother on December 17 2021.

Mr McCollum said Ms Morgan’s mother tried calling her daughter several times during the night and the next morning without reply and went to her house.

He said: “When she saw the house, the living-room was a mess and this was unusual as Caoimhe was very house proud.

“She noticed the back was ajar.

“She went upstairs with two of her grandchildren with one of them telling her not to go into the bedroom as ‘mummy was lying in a bad way, all beaten and covered in blood’.

“She went into the room where another one of grandchildren was at Caoimhe’s side touching her shoulder saying ‘mum, mum, mum’. She said she was cold to the touch and she knew she was dead.”

A post mortem examination said Ms Morgan died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head which caused a “catastrophic head injury”.

McIlvenna, who had been in a relationship with Ms Morgan for six years was arrested on December 18 and during interviews said he had went to her house, struck her twice to the head with his hand and she immediately dropped to the floor and he left.

During a second interview, he said he didn’t believe his actions led to her death and if he thought she needed urgent medical attention he would have called an ambulance.

Mr McCollum spoke of the “moving and heartbreaking” statements from Ms Morgan’s mother and siblings and said: “It is very clear that Caoimhe was a young woman who adored her children.

“She was loving and caring to those who knew her and is sorely missed by each of them. The traumatic ending to her life is very acutely felt.”

The prosecutor listed a series of aggravating factors such as Ms Morgan being murdered in her own home, the “persistent” attack, her young children at home at the time and “exposed to the murder scene” and that McIlvenna didn’t summon help.

Mr McCollum also said at the time of the murder, McIlvenna had consumed cocaine, was on police bail for previous offences and also on probation for prior incidents against Ms Morgan.

He has an extensive criminal recording including prior offences of domestic violence.

Defence barrister Eilis McDermott KC said it was always McIlvenna’s intention to admit responsibility.

Following submissions, Mr Justice McFarland said he wanted time to reflect on what he had heard and said he would impose the tariff “in the very near future”.