Murder victim ‘screamed’ for help

Caption Anne O’Neill was discovered seriously injured in the back garden of a house in Ardmore Park in South Belfast but died a short time later. Caption Anne O’Neill was discovered seriously injured in the back garden of a house in Ardmore Park in South Belfast but died a short time later.
By Caoimhe Quinn

TWO men remain in custody as police continue a murder investigation into the death of a mother-of-two in South Belfast at the weekend.

Police received a report of a woman ‘in distress’ in Ardmore Avenue at about 7am on Saturday. Anne O’Neill was discovered seriously injured in the back garden of a house in Ardmore Park off Finaghy Road North. Despite efforts by emergency services to save her, the 51-year-old she died at the scene. Her elderly parents were in the house at the time of the incident.

Local Councilor Geraldine McAteer spoke of a sense of shock in the area in the way of the killing.

“I know the people of Ardmore Avenue and Park have been deeply shocked and saddened that Anne lost her life in the Ardmore neighbourhood,” she said. “Some neighbours heard her cries in the early hours of Saturday morning, sought to help her and contacted the PSNI and the emergency services – they are particularly upset.

“Whilst the PSNI cordon was established over Saturday and Sunday, Ardmore neighbours behaved with consideration, dignity and patience to enable the PSNI to conduct their investigations.”

Two men aged 23 and 27 were arrested in another house in South Belfast later the same day on suspicion of murder and remain in custody. There was another extensive police presence in Malone Avenue on Saturday and Sunday.

The courts have granted police a further 36 hours to question the men detained. The PSNI continue to appeal for information from the public. They also urged residents to come forward with any home CCTV footage they may have that could assist them in their murder investigation.
Cllr McAteer echoed that plea, adding: “It is clear now that this was not a burglary and this has been a relief in the area. However, the PSNI investigation is ongoing. I would appeal to anyone who was in the Ardmore Avenue area of Finaghy in the early hours of Saturday who witnessed any suspicious activity or any vehicles driving in the area to contact detectives at Musgrave Police Station on on 101. Similarly if anyone from Ardmore Avenue and Ardmore Park who has CCTV installed, would also contact PSNI at the same telephone number that would be extremely useful.

“I contacted community counselling services yesterday and asked if they would be able to provide counseling to distressed neighbours and they have agreed to do so.”

South Belfast MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir: “I have spoken with residents of Ardmore who were woken by a woman’s screams around 7am.

“There is real shock and distress in the area at the news of this murder.

“I would appeal to anyone who can help bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to book to work closely with the PSNI.”

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