Sunday 18 February 2018

Teenage girl shot dead in Co Derry village this morning

Press Association

A teenage girl has been shot dead and her sister seriously injured in a gun attack in a small village in Co Derry.

Police said they were attending the scene at a house at William Court in Bellaghy, near Magherafelt.

It is believed the dead girl was 18 years old and celebrated her birthday just last week.

Her older sister, aged in her early 20s, lived at the rented house, in a recently built development at the back of the established housing estate.

Locals said the seriously injured woman is a mother of two young children.

One man, believed to be in his 20s, has been arrested.

He has been taken to the Serious Crime Suite at Antrim PSNI station. Caoimhe Scullion, Sinn Fein councillor on Magherafelt District Council who lives in Bellaghy, said the tight-knit village had been plunged into shock over the gun attack.

"Everybody is in complete shock," she said.

"We hear these stories happening everywhere else, but you never think it will happen on your doorstep."

Ms Scullion said everybody knows everybody else in the small village.

Ian Milne, also a Sinn Fein councillor who lives Bellaghy, said the dead girl had her 18th birthday last week.

"The area is in total shock," he said.

"Nobody can understand why this has happened. Everyone is very raw."

Mr Milne added: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. We hope and pray the girl that is injured will make a recovery."

A PSNI spokesman said they received a report of the shooting shortly before 10.40am today.

He added: "At around 11.10am, a 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and a 28-year-old male and 28-year-old female were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

"All three were arrested in the Toome area and have been taken to the Serious Crime Suite at Antrim police station."

Investigating officers have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact them.

Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland's deputy first minister and Mid-Ulster MP, said his heart goes out to the family of the girl tragically killed.

"People I have spoken to in the area this morning are in a state of shock," he said.

"I would wish to extend my thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the victim at this terrible time."

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