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Sunday 19 January 2020

Tributes to 'bubbly' nurse Laura Marshall found dead as boyfriend held in murder probe

Laura Marshall Photo: Facebook
Laura Marshall Photo: Facebook
Police at the Scene in Victoria Street in Lurgan Credit: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Deborah McAleese

A young woman who was murdered in Lurgan has been described as "bubbly, fun-loving and full of life" by her shocked friends.

Laura Marshall, a 31-year-old dental nurse, was found dead in a block of flats in Lurgan on Sunday night.

After a post-mortem examination yesterday, the PSNI announced that it had launched a murder investigation.

Ms Marshall's 36-year-old boyfriend Gary O'Dowd was arrested for questioning over her sudden death. He remained in police custody last night.

Ms Marshall was from a well-known republican family in the town. Her uncle was former republican prisoner Sam Marshall, who was murdered by the UVF in 1990 as he left Lurgan police station with his brother-in-law Tony McCaughey and republican Colin Duffy. The Police Ombudsman is investigating allegations from his family of state collusion.

Yesterday there was a heavy police presence outside the block of flats in Victoria Street where Ms Marshall's body is understood to have been found by a maintenance man.

Due to the close proximity of the flats to the Kilwilkie estate, a dissident republican stronghold, officers guarding the scene were heavily armed with rifles.

An aunt of Ms Marshall stopped momentarily outside the flats yesterday morning, but said she was too upset to discuss the tragedy.

A friend paused to bless himself as he walked past.

"I knew Laura for a while. She was a nice girl. She was with Gary a couple of years. She'd never pass you without saying hello," he said.

Ms Marshall was a keen traveller. She travelled around Australia for 13 months in 2008/09, which she described on social media as "the best time of her life".

She also lived in the US and England for a few years and had intended to travel again. However, after meeting Mr O'Dowd in August 2013 she decided to stay with him in Lurgan. At the time she told her friends on Facebook that Mr O'Dowd "was good" to her.

Several friends took to social media to pay tribute to her.

Dean Oxby wrote on Facebook that Laura "was a very popular and outgoing inspirational woman who can always put a smile on your face ... you made many friends around the world where you have travelled on your journeys and they are sadly touched by the news of your death."

Another wrote: "I'm devastated ... I cannot believe this has happened to a happy young beautiful woman who was a huge part of my life." One friend described Ms Marshall as "so bubbly fun-loving and full of life".

Sinn Fein councillor for the area Catherine Seeley said the "tragic event has sent a wave of shock throughout the community in north Lurgan and beyond".

She said: "It is very early for any details to be released and the PSNI should be allowed space to carry out their investigations. I would call on anyone with any information to contact the PSNI immediately."

Ulster Unionist Lurgan councillor Colin McCusker said: "The news of this young woman's death has come as a complete shock to the Lurgan community."

Belfast Telegraph

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