Northern Ireland

Father of Hollie Thomson's young child dies suddenly, days before the man accused of murdering young mum also died

Courtney Hillan
Courtney Hillan

THE father of Hollie Thomson's young child has died suddenly - days before the man accused of murdering the mother-of-one also died.

Courtney Hillan, a father-of-three from west Belfast, was found dead at his home in west Belfast last Thursday, March 2.

He was cremated at Roselawn on Wednesday following Requiem Mass at Christ the Redeemer Church in Dunmurry.

Following her death last September, Mr Hillan took to social media asking Ms Thomson to look down on their child.

It comes as Christopher Morelli, the man charged with the murder of Hollie, also died suddenly.

Mr Morelli (32) was found dead at a bail address in the Annacloy Park area of Hillsborough on Monday afternoon, March 6. He had been living at the property since November.

Police said his death is not being treated as suspicious.

Mr Morelli, from Willowvale Avenue off the Stewartstown Road, had previously attempted to take his own life in the immediate aftermath of Ms Thomson's death.

The body of the popular classroom assistant was discovered at her home in the Greenan area off the Shaw's Road last year on September 11.

A court heard the mother-of-one had been out at a social club with Mr Morelli the night before she died.

Preliminary medical examinations identified suffocation and a fractured neck as a possible cause of death.

But defence lawyers challenged the evidence to sustain a murder charge, predicting that toxicology reports would instead support their case that it had been a drug overdose.

Bail was granted to Mr Morelli under strict conditions, which included a ban on taking alcohol or non-prescription drugs and living at an approved address outside west Belfast.

Meanwhile a death notice detailed how Mr Hillan died at his home on Caffrey Avenue off the Glen Road.

Among those posting tributes was his sister Somer.

Writing of her devastation she said: "We’re there was you there was me, don’t know how I’m going to do life without you, who’s gonna match my brother and best friend all in one so grateful for all our memories, can’t believe I’m never going to hear ‘that’s my sister’ again, this is a living nightmare, I love you so much."