Londonderry man convicted of girlfriend’s murder for second time

Stephen Cahoon
Stephen Cahoon

A Co Londonderry man has been found guilty of murdering a pregnant mother-of-four for the second time after three trials over a period of six years.

The trial, which has made legal history, saw Stephen Cahoon, 43, an unemployed labourer, originally from Magherafelt, charged under the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act of 1976.

Having opted for trial in the Republic of Ireland, he became the first person to be tried there for a murder which had been committed in Northern Ireland.

Cahoon, with a last address at Harvey Street in Londonderry, admitted strangling his ex-girlfriend Jean Teresa Quigley, who was 10 weeks pregnant with his child at the time, but had denied it was murder.

The Central Criminal Court jury heard that Ms Quigley’s naked and bruised body was discovered at her home by her mother, Emma McBride, in Londonderry’s Cornhill Fields area on July 26, 2008.

The jury found Cahoon guilty by unanimous verdict of murdering Ms Quigley after deliberating for almost four hours.

The defendant, who gave direct evidence at the trial, had told the jury that he “handcuffed” Ms Quigley’s hand to her bed and “taped” her other hand to the other side of the headboard before having sex.

Afterwards Cahoon said he saw “red” when Ms Quigley told him the baby was not his and so he “grabbed and pushed” her and put his “hand on her throat”.

This was Cahoon’s third trial for murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend and he has served close to 10 years in prison.

In his first Central Criminal Court trial a hung jury failed to reach a verdict.

On April 30, 2012, a jury unanimously found him guilty of murder, only for that conviction to be quashed on appeal in March this year.