Jennifer Dornan murder ‘wicked and obscene’

Jennifer Dornan's daughter Abi holds a flower as her mother's coffin is taken from the church after the service
Jennifer Dornan's daughter Abi holds a flower as her mother's coffin is taken from the church after the service

The murder of a mother of three was wicked and obscene, mourners at her funeral service have heard.

Hundreds of people turned out to pay their last respects to 30-year-old Jennifer Dornan, who was found stabbed to death in her burning house in west Belfast on Sunday.

The requiem mass, at Christ the Redeemer Church in the Lagmore area of the city, took place as detectives continued to hunt for the killer.

Parish priest Fr Martin Graham said: “Whoever did this to Jennifer has turned her death, which was cold-hearted and callous already, into something that was wicked and obscene.

“A family home has been destroyed as her family’s hearts have been torn apart.”

Friends and family dressed in bright clothing packed into the church, not far from the scene of the crime, for the hour-long service.

Ms Dornan, who leaves three children – Martin, Jayden and Abi, all aged under nine – was described as fun-loving and outgoing.

Fr Graham said: “Jennifer was a vibrant human being with a love of life and a joy and energy that attracted many friends. She enjoyed life so much and she was the life and soul of any party.

“Jennifer knew what she meant to a great many people and she enjoyed company. She was quick and razor sharp in mind and in tongue.

“She gave everyone plenty to laugh and smile about and she never had to try hard.

“Her nature, her personality, was one that even with her own troubles and worries she could still smile and help others to do the same.

“This world is the poorer now that Jennifer has left it, and with her buoyant personality it will also be so much quieter.”

There were emotional scenes after the service as Ms Dornan’s youngest son Jayden, holding a picture of his mother, led the crowd of weeping mourners out of the church grounds to begin the journey towards the Belfast’s City Cemetery.

Her daughter Abi, clinging to a family friend, was also given a lily taken from the floral wreaths.

The body of the single mother was found when a member of the public alerted fire crews at about 5am on Sunday.

The two-storey terrace at Hazel View was so badly damaged the roof collapsed.

Ms Dornan’s father Stephen, who has appealed for police to catch the “animal” who killed his daughter, was among six pallbearers.

Her mother Theresa was supported by family members and friends as she entered the church while her eldest son Martin clutched a photograph of his mother.

Police confirmed they had launched a murder investigation hours before a community vigil on Monday.

On Thursday officers released a photograph of a 14in orange and white knife similar to the one they believe was used in the murder.

Detectives, who believe the killer torched the property in an attempt to cover their tracks, also revealed they know that a man left the property at 4.20am.

They believe he may have changed his clothing while walking towards Poleglass.

A 39-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of withholding information but has been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

An online campaign to raise funds for Ms Dornan’s young family generated more than £10,000 in just 48 hours.