The daughter of one of the Dromore women whose death is being treated as murder has said she is heartbroken.
Rachel Bickerstaff found her mother Michelle in a coma in April last year and on Friday faced the man accused of her mother’s murder in court.
Leslie Ross, 66, is currently in custody charged with the murder of 47 year-old mother-of-four Ms Bickerstaff and Margaret Weise, who died aged 50 in August 2007.
Ross, from Meganlis Park in Dromore, is also accused of indecent assault, gross indecency with a child and indecently assaulting a female child on dates between 1979 and 1990.
Ross’ solicitor said his client will be denying all the charges he faces.
After the court hearing Rachel posted a picture of her mum on Facebook and said the situation is heartbreaking, adding: “I miss her so much, it’s so unfair.”
Michelle’s mother Dorothy, and sisters Sharon and Yvette, also paid tribute to Michelle, who they described as “a beautiful person”.
“It has been traumatic,” the three told the Banbridge Leader. “It has been devastating losing Michelle. There isn’t a day goes by that we don’t think of her. We loved her so much.
“She was a fantastic sister. She was so soft and kind-hearted. She was always there in times of need. Whenever I was unwell she was the first person to knock on the door and come in and help. Any time we ever needed her, she was there.”
Dorothy said her daughter had been a thoughtful, kind person, who always looked out for her elderly neighbours. “She was a very good neighbour,” added Sharon. “She’d have brought the bins in for her neighbours when she lived in Blackskull and she did the same in Dromore.”
Michelle was a great animal lover, her family said, who looked after stray cats and had a pet cat and dog for many years.
The family also said Michelle was very creative and had a great eye for interior design.
“She was very house proud. You had to take off your shoes at Michelle’s door. She was that particular,” said Yvette.
“I’ll always remember Michelle as a beautiful, beautiful, person, who I miss so much. Her house was gorgeous and she had the nicest of things.
“Mummy was her best friend and if you saw Mummy you would have seen Michelle. We are such a close-knit family and I think that’s why Michelle’s death has devastated us so much.
“We miss her so much.”