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Natalie McNally

Violence against women scourge on society, Natalie McNally’s brother tells rally

The 32 year old was 15 weeks pregnant when she was fatally stabbed in her home.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 28th 2023, 4:33 PM

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN and girls is a scourge on society, the brother of murder victim Natalie McNally has told a rally in her memory.

More than 1,000 people attended the vigil in Lurgan Park in Co Armagh, which also called for an end to all gender-based violence.

Natalie, who was 32 and 15 weeks pregnant, was fatally stabbed on 18 December in her home in Silverwood Green in the Armagh town.

Despite a number of police appeals and several arrests, nobody has yet been charged over her death.

Police have so far carried out hundreds of house-to-house inquiries and seized more than 4,000 hours of CCTV footage.

The rally was organised by the National Women’s Council and was attended by Natalie’s parents Noel and Bernie and her brothers Brendan, Niall and Declan.

natalie-mcnally-vigil Natalie McNally's brothers Declan (left) and Brendan (right) with their cousin Jane PA PA

A number of politicians were in attendance, including Sinn Fein’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill. Many of the people attending the vigil wore pink for Natalie or blue for her son Dean, and carried placards reading: “She was only at home.”

natalie-mcnally-vigil PA PA

Brendan McNally told the rally that his sister was an inspiration to other women.

He added: “Violence against women and girls is one of the great scourges of our society.

“This is no basis for a shared future.

“The time has long come for us to recognise that we cannot rest until the perpetual assaults against women are ended for good.”

Declan McNally then introduced a video montage showing excerpts from Natalie’s life.

He said: “This video is a montage of memories of Natalie and this was put together by Natalie’s loving partner.

“Please keep Natalie’s partner in your thoughts and prayers.

“This is how we want Natalie to be remembered: A beautiful, fun-loving person.”

Natalie’s parents told the PA news agency that they were hopeful the rally would prick the conscience of someone who has information about their daughter’s murder.

Bernie McNally said: “We want Natalie’s memory to go forward and to be remembered, and to remember all the women who have died.

“She was a living her best life, that is what we want to remember in all this grief and sadness.”

Noel McNally said: “It is very frustrating but we know the police are doing everything.

“They are throwing everything they have. We have every confidence they will catch this person.”

Rachel Coyle, head of campaigns and mobilisation at the National Women’s Council, said the rally was an opportunity for society to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the McNally family.

He said: “We are in awe of their determination to find justice.

“More than that, Natalie is the 16th woman who was murdered in similar circumstances last year.

“That is why we are here to continue to campaign for an end to violence against women.

“I live here in Lurgan. Women are afraid that this person has not been caught. This is a reality for women.”

Renewed appeal for information

The rally came as police in Northern Ireland Ireland issued a renewed appeal for information on the murder.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness said: “We are committed to finding answers for Natalie’s heartbroken family. It is shocking that the mother to be was brutally murdered in her own home which should have been a place of safety for her.

“We previously released CCTV footage and our efforts to identify the man in this footage remain ongoing. It shows the suspect arriving at Silverwood Green that night at 8.52pm, and then the same figure walking away at 9.30pm.”

Her brothers and parents were also in attendance.

Inspector McGuinness asked the public to cast their minds back to 18 December, the day of the World Cup final. “If you witnessed anything untoward – no matter how insignificant it may seem – or if you have captured dash cam or CCTV footage, please get in touch.

“I am appealing to anyone who noticed someone they know acting strangely that night to come and speak to us. Maybe you recognise the rucksack or noticed that a rucksack was missing for a period of time or indeed is still missing. The suspect captured in the CCTV footage has an unusual gait.”

McGuinness also paid tribute to Natalie’s family for their support of the information in a time of immense grief.

“The deaths of Natalie and her unborn baby have caused them unimaginable heartache. Not only are they trying to come to terms with the death of their only daughter and sister, they are also grieving the loss of Natalie’s baby boy, who they have named Dean.

“Natalie’s killer robbed all of them of meeting Dean and watching him grow up as part of their loving family.”

Natalie’s brother Niall, who spoke to The Journal this week, has asked everyone on the island of Ireland to make themselves aware of the PSNI appeal, as he believes there is a possibility the killer could flee across the border.

The Crimestoppers charity is offering a reward of up to £20,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Natalie’s murder.