Northern Ireland

Caoimhe Morgan’s killer was on bail for the assault of another woman when he murdered the mother of four

His criminal record goes back to 2009

Caoimhe Morgan
Caoimhe Morgan

Convicted murderer Taylor McIlvenna was on bail for wounding a woman and dangerous driving under the influence of either drugs or drink when he carried out the “vicious and frenzied attack” on his partner, Caoimhe Morgan.

The 32-year-old’s adult criminal record dates back to 2009 and includes assaults on police officers, threats to kill and at least one previous attack on Ms Morgan, for which he received a probation order.

McIlvenna, of Highvale Gardens in the Ballygomartin area of Belfast, was sentenced to a minimum of 17 years for the murder of 30-year-old mother-of-four at her home in the north of the city in December, 2021.

Taylor George McIlvenna has been handed a life sentence for the murder of Caoimhe Morgan

He has 47 previous convictions, including 10 for assault, and was on bail for the assault on a woman, not Ms Morgan, earlier the same year and on the dangerous driving offence allegedly committed just weeks before he carried out the murder,

McIlvenna received a six-month prison sentence in March 2023 for the assault on the female, while he was remanded in custody on the murder charge.

But on a number of previous occasions, he received either probation orders or suspended sentences for assaults, including three attacks on police officers.

It is not publicly known how long McIlvenna spent as a sentenced prisoner following his convictions over the 12 years prior to killing Ms Morgan.

At the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Mr Justice David McFarland noted prior incidents of domestic violence, including McIlvenna attacking Ms Morgan in a fast-food outlet in August 2019, as well as his “monitoring” of her activities and conduct. He said this was “motivated by a jealous attitude”.

Flowers at the scene where Caoimhe Morgan was Murdered at Harcourt Drive in North Belfast.

McIlvenna, a cocaine user, was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia by a psychiatrist hired by his defence, who also concluded the murder happened during a psychotic episode.

But a psychiatrist working for the prosecution disagreed with the diagnosis, which McIlvenna’s defence introduced as mitigation to reduce the length of his sentence.

McIlvenna originally pleaded not guilty but changed his plea after the psychiatric reports were filed.

His defence also said the plea change was because he did not want Ms Morgan’s four children to hear details of the murder.

A lower tariff was asked for due to “diminished responsibility”.

The Crown Court on Wednesday heard he was twice admitted to a psychiatric hospital in 2020, both the result of psychotic incidents. During the second admission, a compulsory detention, McIlvenna required physical and chemical restraint.

At an earlier bail hearing while he was remanded in custody on the murder charge, McIlvenna is alleged to have “made two threats of physical harm to one of the witnesses”.

Objecting to bail, prosecution counsel Liam McCollum noted Ms Morgan was killed when he was in breach of court orders, suggested he had “scant regard” for them and that it was “unsuitable” to release the accused as he has a “significant criminal record”.

McIlvenna leaves the home of his victim less than two minutes after arriving. PICTURE: PSNI
McIlvenna leaves the home of his victim less than two minutes after arriving. PICTURE: PSNI

At the time of the murder, he was on bail for the May 2021 wounding of a female but then was arrested and charged in December for dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen. He was bailed both times.

His previous convictions include the assault on Ms Morgan at a fast food outlet in 2019, possession of a weapon, intimidation of a witness and threats to kill in 2015.

The scene of Caoimhe Morgan's murder
The scene of Caoimhe Morgan's murder

McIlvenna received a three month suspended sentence for assault in 2015, a six month suspended sentence for assaulting two police officers in 2012. There were two further assaults the same year.

In 2009, he was convicted twice of assaulting police officers, for which he received probation orders.