Northern Ireland

Finaghy murder: Police granted more time to question 27-year-old

Anne O'Neill Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Detectives investigating the murder of Anne O'Neill in Finaghy on Saturday morning are appealing for more information

Detectives have been granted a further 24 hours to question a 27-year-old man over the death of Anne O'Neill.

Two men, aged 23 and 27, were arrested on suspicion of murdering the 51-year-old woman on Saturday.

The 23-year-old has been released on bail pending further enquiries.

Police believe Ms O'Neill, who was found injured the garden of her parent's home in Ardmore Avenue, knew her attacker.

Her friend described her as "a lovely, down to earth, helpful woman. Always considerate for other people even though she was ill herself."

She added: "I'm in shock. I don't know what to make of it. I just hope that they find whoever done it.

"My heart is broken for her. She was only 51."

Police received a report of a woman "in distress" in Ardmore Avenue at about 07:00 BST, however, despite efforts by the emergency services, she died at the scene.

Image caption Police maintained a presence at Ardmore Avenue over the weekend

Ardmore Avenue residents who had heard the victim's cries were "very distressed", Sinn Féin councillor Geraldine McAteer told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.

CCTV appeal

Part of Ardmore Avenue was cordoned off over the weekend as police conducted forensic investigations.

Police said on Sunday that they had been granted additional time by a court to question the two arrested men.

They have appealed for anyone who has CCTV installed at their homes in the Ardmore Avenue and Ardmore Park area to contact them at Musgrave Police Station.

Donna Rooney, who has lived in the Ardmore area for 25 years, told BBC News NI people were shocked by the crime.

"It is like something you see on television, you just don't relate to it at all," she said.

Image caption Part of Ardmore Avenue was sealed off for two days as investigations continued

'Woken by screams'

On Saturday, it was reported that police were searching a house at Malone Avenue in south Belfast and that operation was understood to be linked to the investigation.

Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said he had spoken to Ardmore Avenue residents who told him they were "woken by a woman's screams".

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Media captionSinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said residents 'heard screaming'

"I got contacted by constituents who said they heard a woman screaming in the early morning, they responded to that," he said.

"I'm told that later, a woman did come out of a house, that she had sustained head injuries, that paramedics did work on her but we know that since then, the lady has died."

Image caption Police investigating the death searched a house in Malone Avenue on Saturday

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