NI newspaper review: Farmhouse stabbings lead front pages

  • Published
LarneImage source, Pacemaker Press
Image caption,
A police forensic officer at the scene of the stabbings at Bankhall Road, Magheramorne

The death of a small child in a stabbing at a farmhouse in County Antrim dominates the front pages of the Northern Ireland newspapers on Tuesday.

The papers report that the child's mother has been named locally as Fiona McGowan, who was a nurse in her 30s.

They say that she and a second child remain critically ill in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

"Stabbed toddler fights for life," reads the headline in the Irish News.

The News Letter's headline reads: "Community shattered by toddler's death".

Reporter Adam Kula writes that "shock and disbelief have ripped through a quiet rural community" after the stabbing at Magheramorne.

He quotes an elderly neighbour who used to see the woman out with the baby in the pram and with the second child: "They kept themselves to themselves," she said.

Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
The stabbing happened at a house on the Bankhall Road, near Larne

The Belfast Telegraph reports that police are waiting to question the wounded mother.

The paper again reflects the shock felt in the community and quotes East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson, who called it "an unspeakable tragedy".

"It's just an utter tragedy and from what I hear the injuries were horrific and the officers at the scene have been through an awful experience in dealing with it when they arrived," he said.

"It's a very tight community here and there's shock all around. All our thoughts are with the wider family circle."

The Mirror reports that police are waiting to question the children's mother in what the paper calls a "home terror attack".

Image source, Nuala Mccann

The paper reports that police received a 999 call believed to be from the woman's husband.

It states that the family of six moved into the area last year.

The Mirror quotes a source who said: "We didn't know them that well yet. We were all on friendly terms and would have waved to each other in the road.

"They wanted a safe space for the children to grow up, nowhere near a main road, somewhere where they could play freely and enjoy the freedom of a rural childhood."

The source described the mother as "a lovely young woman with a very caring nature".

Speaking up

The Irish News features the inspirational story of a schoolgirl from south Belfast who has shared her experience of living with dwarfism.

Cara Mailey, 11, from Carryduff, spoke at a children's storytelling event which aims to teach young people about diversity.

She is already making her mark with roles in television programmes like CBBC's Craft Party, the paper reports.

Her mother Tricia said Cara wanted to talk about her condition in order to educate more people.

"Cara's message is: 'Just ask me if you want to know something,'" said Tricia.

The News Letter features a warning from Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann that panic and hysteria over the coronavirus could be as dangerous as complacency.

Mr Swann said it was vital to keep "a balanced, proportionate approach", the paper reports.

'For Cod and Ulster'

Finally, the Telegraph carries an interview with David James Kerr whose life, writes reporter Claire O'Boyle, "reads like the script of a Hollywood movie".

He is 34 years old and has lived, in his own words "a proper rags to riches story".

Kerr was the man who set up the east Belfast chippy trading under the name: "For Cod and Ulster".

It went bust but - no codding - he fought back from bankruptcy to build a designer clothing business with a £1m turnover.

His message is simple: "We've been through a lot but I think when you love what you do, then it's worth it."