Leading article

Editorial: Violent death in Whitehead causes deep sense of shock

Alyson Nelson (64), who was stabbed to death at her home in Whitehead on Saturday

The violent death of Alyson Nelson over the Easter weekend has caused deep shock and sadness, for her family and friends and for the entire community in the coastal village of Whitehead in Co Antrim where she lived.

A murder probe was launched after the former healthcare worker was found stabbed at her home at Victoria Avenue around 6.10pm on Saturday evening.

Police, paramedics and the air ambulance attended the scene, however, the 64-year-old was sadly pronounced dead.

This is a devastating loss for the relatives of this much loved mother and grandmother, and they will need every support in the days and weeks ahead.

Mrs Nelson was described as a 'lovely lady' who will be `very badly missed' in Whitehead, where she was a familiar and friendly presence.

While the full circumstances of this incident are being investigated, Mrs Nelson's death is an appalling tragedy that once again places a focus on the level of violence towards women in our society.

The statistics are profoundly disturbing. Since April 2020, 14 women have been killed in Northern Ireland while it has been shown that the north has one of the highest rates of domestic killings per capita in Europe.

Murders such as that of Ashling Murphy, attacked as she went for a run near her home in Tullamore, put a fresh spotlight on the issue of violence against women and led to calls for government action.

The recent trial of Raymond O'Neill for the murder of Jennifer Dornan in west Belfast in August 2015, heard in harrowing detail the terrible violence inflicted on the mother of three in her own house.

The jury was told how O'Neill followed the 30-year-old to her home, stabbing her in the chest three times before setting her bedroom alight in a bid to destroy evidence.

O'Neill was convicted of murder and arson earlier this month and has been handed a life sentence.

And while Ms Dornan's family have achieved justice after seven long and difficult years, the fact remains that this man has robbed three children of their mother and caused untold anguish to those who knew and loved this young woman.

This horrific case along with so many others, underlines the importance of tackling the violence which is far too prevalent in our society and the attitudes that contribute to women feeling unsafe.



Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Leading article