The families of two women whose suspicious deaths years apart in a small Co Down village are now being investigated by police plan to work together to support each other through a traumatic time.
The son of Margaret Weise, who was 50 when she died suddenly in 2007, said he intends to return a message offering support which was left for him by the sister of Michelle Bickerstaff who died suddenly just over two years ago.
The two families, together with the relatives of Elizabeth McKee, were informed on Tuesday that a man who was a former partner of all three women had been arrested in connection with their deaths.
Paul Herron, who said he is looking ahead to the sixth anniversary next week of his mother Margaret’s death, was contacted by Michelle’s sister Sharon Sparks yesterday with a heartfelt message of support during what he has acknowledged is a very painful time for his family.
“I received a message from Michelle Bickerstaff’s sister wanting to know if we wanted to talk,” Mr Herron told the News Letter.
“I will return her message and see what way things are with her family.
“I’m sure we can work on things together. Everyone is going through the same kind of pain.”
The account manager was working in Birmingham when the news of his mother’s former partner’s arrest broke earlier this week.
“I couldn’t wait to get home to my family,” he said.
The police investigation brought back painful memories for the Weise family, Mr Herron added.
“It just brings back quite a lot,” he said.
“It will be six years next week since our mother died. We had closed that chapter and sort of tried to move on but this has all reopened old wounds.
“We were aware of the investigation over this past year to 18 months. We were expecting it to come to this (an arrest) at some stage.”
Mr Herron pleaded for local people to give police any information they have which might lead to answers about his mother’s death.
“Any information you give could be a piece of the jigsaw,” he said.
“I am sure there are people who know more than they are letting on.”
Earlier this week a relative of Ms Bickerstaff’s said her family were very upset. They described the mother-of-four as having been “a very, very kind person, a lovely girl”.
Jenny Dickson, daughter of Elizabeth McKee, said she is simply waiting on further updates from police and was too upset to add any further comment.