28 January 2023

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

28 January 2023

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 violence against females.

Ms McNally, who was 32 and 15 weeks pregnant, was fatally stabbed on December 18 in her home in Silverwood Green in the Co 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 (NWC) and was attended by Natalie’s parents Noel and Bernie and her brothers Brendan, Niall and Declan.

A number of politicians were in attendance, including Sinn Fein’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill.

Many of those in attendance carried placards reading: “Justice for Natalie”, and: “She was only at home”, while a number wore pink or blue items of clothing in memory of the mother-to-be.

Violence against women and girls is one of the great scourges of our society.

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

He said: “Natalie was a remarkable person. From the age of three she lived with type one diabetes.

“However, it remains a testament to her character that she was never restrained in what she wanted to achieve in life.

“She was delighted to be becoming a mother for the first time. For any young person living with diabetes in Northern Ireland, Natalie is an ideal inspiration.”

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.”

Another brother, Declan McNally, then introduced a video montage showing excerpts from Ms NcNally’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.”

Ms McNally’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.”

The rally came as police renewed their appeal to find Ms McNally’s killer.

Senior investigating officer detective chief inspector Neil McGuinness said: “We are continuing to investigate the horrific murder of Natalie, who was 15 weeks pregnant.

“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.

“I would like to pay tribute to the continued fortitude of Natalie’s family and thank them for all they are doing to support our investigation.

“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.

“I would also like to thank the community of Lurgan and beyond for their support and for all the information people have brought to police. Please keep it coming.”

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