Mother was stabbed with kitchen knife

Jennifer Dornan who  died in a house fire at Hazel View in the Lagmore area on the outskirts of west Belfast on the early hours of sunday morning.
Jennifer Dornan who died in a house fire at Hazel View in the Lagmore area on the outskirts of west Belfast on the early hours of sunday morning.

A mother-of-three found murdered in her burning house was stabbed with a 14-inch kitchen knife, police have said.

Jennifer Dornan, 30, was stabbed in her home on the outskirts of west Belfast on Sunday morning.

Detectives, who believe the killer torched the property in an attempt to cover their tracks, have also revealed they know that a man left the property at 4.20am, and have released details of his subsequent movements.

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

The Hazel View house in the Lagmore area was so badly damaged the roof collapsed.

Confirming the cause of death, detectives have released a photo of a knife similar to one they believe was used.

It is almost 14 inches long and has distinctive orange and white markings.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch said yesterday afternoon: “I can confirm that Jennifer was stabbed during the attack early on Sunday morning.

“We are appealing to anyone who has come across a knife like this since Sunday to contact us. We are grateful to the community for the enormous amount of assistance they have provided in the past few days and would ask for their continued support.

“We are following a definite line of inquiry.”

He added: “We are particularly interested in the movements and whereabouts of a man seen leaving Jennifer’s home at 4.20am on Sunday. We believe he walked from Hazel View, through Lagmore to Poleglass. We believe he was wearing a grey t-shirt or sweat top and a light coloured bomber jacket.

“At some stage, we believe he got rid of the grey top and light coloured jacket and obtained a red and gold sports jersey.

“We are appealing to anyone who lives on the route between Hazel View and Poleglass and who has knowledge of any of these items of clothing or the knife to contact us.”