Natalie McNally: Parents fear pregnant daughter's killer may have fled Northern Ireland

The parents of a young, pregnant woman who was murdered three weeks ago say it's possible her killer has fled Northern Ireland.

Natalie McNally, 32, was found dead in her home at Lurgan, County Armagh just a few days before Christmas.

Her mother Bernie said: "All her presents we had for her, all wrapped up, they're all upstairs and you look at them, it's heart-breaking.

"This was an innocent girl and her baby's life and I have to think God, in her last few minutes, was she pleading for her life? Was she pleading for her baby's life?

"This all comes into your head. What were her last few minutes like?"

Her dad Noel says women in the community "must be terrified that there's a monster still out on the streets" but that it's possible the killer has fled the jurisdiction.

Police have released CCTV pictures of the suspect on the night of Natalie's murder and believe they've recovered the weapon used.

'You can't be loyal to someone that has done this'

Two men have been arrested, but one was released unconditionally and the other released on bail pending further enquiries.

Noel McNally said: "Somebody's bound to know the killer and if you kill somebody that way, you can't just go home and act normally.

"If they could just find it in their heart to give up loyalty and just go straight to the police.

"You can't be loyal to someone that has done this to a wee girl because he could do it to someone else and you wouldn't want that."

Stormont fell silent when First Minister-designate Michelle O'Neill hosted a vigil for Natalie and other victims of violence.

'I just loved her from the day she was born'

Northern Ireland has the joint highest female homicide rate in Europe.

The number of women murdered in their own home doubled during lockdown.

Read more:
Pregnant woman stabbed to death in her home 'knew her killer'

A strategy for tackling violence against women and girls is due for publication in Northern Ireland soon but it will come too late for Natalie McNally.

Bernie said: "I just loved her, just loved her from the day she was born and she was our wee girl.

"It's just unimaginable, I can't see a future. There'll be no joy in life now because she's gone."