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Wednesday 20 March 2019

Family want to travel from Colombia to bring suspected murder-suicide victims home

Tragic: Giselle Marimon-Herrera and her 15-year-old daughter Allison
Tragic: Giselle Marimon-Herrera and her 15-year-old daughter Allison

Brett Campbell

A teenager found dead at a flat in Newry was strangled, police said last night.

Allison Marimon-Herrera (15) was one of three people discovered dead at the property at Glin Ree Court in a suspected murder-suicide, which detectives described as unspeakably tragic.

Last night the PSNI said there was a "strong possibility" her mother Giselle Marimon-Herrera (37) was also strangled.

Ms Marimon-Herrera was originally from Colombia and her daughter was born in Spain.

The news came as Giselle's father told how he is willing to sell his taxi to raise the money to travel here so he can "say goodbye" to his daughter and granddaughter.

The PSNI said yesterday: "Following post-mortems detectives can confirm that the cause of 15-year-old Allison Marimon-Herrera's death was strangulation.

"Results are not definitive for Giselle (37), however at this stage detectives believe there is a strong possibility she too was strangled."

Police said a 38-year-old man, Giselle's partner, who also lived at the address, died by hanging. He has been named locally as Russell Steel (38), who was originally from Scotland.

Detectives have said they are not looking for anybody else in connection with their murder inquiry.

Ms Marimon-Herrera was found dead beside her daughter on Thursday after her sister became concerned at not being able to contact the pair.

Yesterday the distraught parents of Giselle, also known as Irina, told South American media outlets that they are seeking assistance from the Colombian Government to obtain an emergency travel visa.

Fabian Marimon and Elizabeth Herrera last saw Giselle when she visited her home city of Barranquilla seven years ago.

Mr Marimon recalled cancelling a planned visit at the end of February due to "obstacles".

He also revealed that his girl had spoken very little of the man now believed to have murdered her and her daughter before taking his own life.

"She told us that the guy was fine; apparently he worked in the construction sector," Mr Marimon said. It is understood that Giselle's partner Steel lived in a separate apartment in the same complex and worked for Haldane Fisher building merchants in the city.

The victim's sister Yadeli told Caracol Radio in Colombia that her family now had only one wish.

"What we want is for my parents to go there, to see them and repatriate them," she said.

Yadeli told the radio station that her father is willing to sell his taxi in order to pay to travel to the place where his daughter died, "to be able to say goodbye to one of his children, as it should be".

In an interview with broadcaster Zona Cero, Mr Marimon explained: "We want to travel and that justice be done."

Detectives say that they believe Giselle and Allison were still alive in the early hours of Sunday.

It is understood that Giselle's sister accompanied the officers who made the shocking discovery after forcing entry to the property. The bodies had lain in the flat for three days.

Police have urged anyone who communicated with the victims recently to come forward.

Appealing for information, Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, who is leading the murder inquiry, said: "The exact circumstances of what happened in their home remains the subject of our investigation."

He refused to speculate on the circumstances surrounding the deaths but said investigators do not believe anyone else was involved.

Giselle, who moved to Spain 20 years ago with her two brothers and became a naturalised citizen, relocated to Newry just four years ago.

Her daughter joined her in 2017 and had been a student at Newry High School.

Staff and pupils there have been offered counselling.

Yesterday headmaster Iestyn Brown paid an emotional tribute to the "talented, kind, courteous and well-mannered pupil with a beautiful smile" as he offered condolences to her family.

"Both staff and pupils are profoundly saddened by her death and she will be remembered with great affection by her fellow pupils and staff alike," Mr Brown said.

Belfast Telegraph

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