Sunday 16 December 2018

'My mum died saving me' - Heartbroken daughter of woman killed in stabbing incident

Jayne Toal Reat and Charlotte Reat
Jayne Toal Reat and Charlotte Reat

Victoria Leonard

A brave Lisburn woman died saving the life of her daughter in an early-morning stabbing incident on Christmas Day, it emerged yesterday

Charlotte Reat (21) said that her mother Jayne Toal Reat died in her arms after saving her from a knife attack at a house in the city's Mornington Lane.

In a heartbreaking message posted online, Charlotte, who was stabbed several times during the attack, told how Jayne had been "murdered in front of my eyes and then later died in my arms".

She wrote: "I just want to thank everyone for all the kind messages and posts. I'm not in the frame of mind to reply to anyone nor am I fit to be writing this status.

"Today will be a day I will never forget as my mum was murdered in front of my eyes and then later died in my arms.

"I can still feel her in my arms and hear her screams of pain and see the panic on her face.

"My mum died saving me; I was stabbed twice in the head, once in my face and once to the back of my neck."

Grieving Charlotte, a former student of Belfast Metropolitan College, revealed that she was due to identify the body yesterday.

"I am with family and have to identify my beautiful mother's body tomorrow, which is not something I ever expected to be doing," she posted on Monday.

"Jayne Toal Reat you died saving my life and I just wish I could trade places with you."

It is understood that there had been a party at the house on Christmas Eve.

At 6am on Christmas morning four ambulance crews were dispatched to the scene.

When they arrived, police officers were already attempting emergency resuscitation on one of the injured people.

Three people were rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Yesterday the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust confirmed that two people had been discharged.

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said that a murder investigation had been launched.

A 19-year-old man was arrested on Monday.

In an emotional statement, which has been 'liked' more than 10,000 times and shared nearly 3,500 times on Facebook, Charlotte pledged to get justice for her mum.

"You're my hero forever and always and I'll never forget you and I promise I will get you justice!" she added.

"I love you my beautiful mummy forever and always."

Neighbour Patrick Byrne (37), whose home overlooks the house where the murder occurred, told the Belfast Telegraph that he had been awakened on Christmas morning by his wife as the emergency services descended on the street.

He said that his wife had witnessed Charlotte and Jayne's injured partner Joe leave the house, as well as the arrest of the suspect.

"You don't expect to wake up to a murder scene on Christmas Day," he said.

"It was about 6.30am and there were police, ambulances and forensics everywhere and a forensic tent.

"It was like being in an episode of EastEnders.

"I have a 15-month-old daughter, and when my wife woke me up I thought she was saying to wake up the baby for Christmas, then I saw she was very upset.

"My wife said she saw Jayne's daughter Charlotte and Jayne's partner Joe come out with bandages on their heads, and I have heard that another man was put in a police car.

"It was Joe's birthday on Christmas Day, and he was still in shock.

"He and Jayne had lived in that house for at least five years.

"They are polite and friendly people and Joe would always come over and talk to me about my dog, as we both have huskies.

"After it happened Joe was ringing a neighbour from hospital asking them to look after the dog.

"He kept saying how much Jayne loved the animal."

Mr Byrne, who described Mornington Lane as a "quiet area full of families", said that the police cordon had remained in place until around 9pm on Christmas Day.

Local politicians said that the community had been left "in shock" over the brutal murder.

SDLP MLA Pat Catney said: "This should be a day families spend together, happy and grateful to have each other.

"Instead a family is waking up on Christmas morning to news of the death of a loved one.

"I can't begin to imagine the pain they're feeling today.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the woman's family and friends at this extremely difficult time.

"I understand that the police have launched a murder investigation.

"I would urge anyone with information, however small, about what happened here to bring it forward as soon as possible."

DUP councillor Alan Givan described the incident as "very tragic and very sad", and fellow DUP councillor Jonathan Craig added: "It has left the neighbours and all those involved deeply traumatised and shocked.

"My thoughts go out to the family. This is the time of year when families come together to enjoy the season, and this tragedy has struck."

Belfast Telegraph

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