Northern Ireland

Stephen Cahoon found guilty of murdering pregnant woman

A County Londonderry man has been found guilty of the murder of a woman pregnant with his child.

Stephen Cahoon, 39, admitted killing Jean Quigley at her home in Cornshell Fields in Derry on 26 July 2008, but denied murder.

The body of the mother of four was discovered strangled and bruised.

The court will hear victim impact statements. Cahoon will be given a mandatory life sentence but the judge has yet to decide on a minimum tariff.

In July 2009, a jury at Dublin's Central Criminal Court failed to reach a verdict and a retrial was ordered.

Cahoon told the court in Dublin that he strangled Jean Quigley to death after she had told him the child she was carrying was not his and that she was going to have an abortion.

"That's when I saw red and I grabbed her by the throat," he said

Cahoon said he held for about 30 seconds and she "turned purple".

He admitted leaving the scene and using a false name to get a taxi.

Horrendous

He said he fled to Donegal, then Galway and back to Donegal where he was arrested by gardai.

Under cross-examination Cahoon said he did not call an ambulance or the police because he hoped she was still alive.

He had denied going to Ms Quigley's house with the deliberate intent of killing her.

In a statement, the PSNI welcomed the conviction of Stephen Cahoon.

"Hopefully it will bring a small measure of comfort to her family after all they have suffered. Jean Quigley was a bright and bubbly 30-year-old mother of four who was expecting her fifth child when she was brutally murdered by Stephen Cahoon in her home.

"She suffered a horrendous death at Cahoon's hands after she told him she wanted to end their brief relationship. Cahoon has brutally taken Jean Quigley's life and robbed her four young children of a loving mother.

"This case made legal history on the island of Ireland. It was the first time a defendant was tried in the Republic under the Criminal Justice Jurisdiction Act 1976 for a non-terrorist crime committed in Northern Ireland. It shows how the law can be used to bring to justice those individuals who commit the most serious crimes, no matter where.

"Stephen Cahoon is one such individual. He is a dangerous sexual predator with a history of violence against women."

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