Northern Ireland

Lurgan golf club grounds searched in Natalie McNally murder probe

Natalie McNally.
Natalie McNally. Natalie McNally.

FRESH searches were carried out in Lurgan yesterday by police investigating the murder of Natalie McNally.

Officers were seen on the grounds of Silverwood Golf Club, nearby to Silverwood Green where the pregnant 32-year-old was stabbed to death in her own home on December 18.

It follows an update from the PSNI who said they believed they had found the murder weapon, which was from her home, and that Ms McNally knew her killer.

Two arrests have been made so far but no one has been charged with the murder so far.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness sought to assure those in the Lurgan community now fearing for their safety.

“We hear that people are telling us they are frightened. We’re trying to give a degree of assurance that we believe this attack was targeted at Natalie McNally,” he said.

“However, we’re mindful and we’ve met some of the political representatives and indeed we’ve met lots of members of the community who are telling us that there is a fear out there.

“I’m working very closely with the district commander and I know she is committed to increasing patrols.”

It’s understood the current searches are being carried out because of the close proximity to the crime scene rather than from fresh intelligence.

On Thursday, political leaders joined the McNally family and others for a vigil outside Stormont and to remember other victims of gender-based violence.

Speaking at the event, Ms McNally’s brother Declan said: “Whatever differences of opinions there are in this country we know there is no difference of opinion and everybody wants to see an end to violence against women and girls.

“And everybody in society has to redouble our efforts to end violence against women and girls in memory of our sister Natalie.”

Giving more details of the case, DCI McGuinness said he believed the attack was targeted as Ms McNally had some form of relationship with her killer and was someone she was content to allow into her home.

He did not believe the door was locked at the time of the attack and said he was keeping an open mind as to whether it was a pre-planned attack or developed after the killer arrived.

Online rumours linking Ms McNally to a serving police officer were also dismissed as “not helpful,” with the PSNI eliminating the individual from the inquiries.

A renewed appeal was also made to identify a man who was seen on CCTV arriving and leaving the street on the night of the murder.

By Thursday, police had carried out 200 house-to-house enquiries, seized 3,000 hours of CCTV footage and sent 50 items for forensic examination.