A woman stabbed to death on Christmas Day has been described as a “bubbly, smiling person who lived life to the full”.
Jayne Toal Reat, a nurse at Craigavon Area Hospital, died following an early morning incident at a house in the Mornington area of Lisburn.
A 19-year-old man was arrested soon afterwards and questioned by police over the death.
John Creaney, Unison trade union representative at the hospital, said Jayne’s colleagues were “in total shock”.
Speaking of his devastation at Jayne’s tragic death, he added: “I got the phone call at 11.30am on Christmas morning and I couldn’t take it in. It felt as if someone had ripped my heart open.
“To think that other families were sitting together opening presents and this family was having to organise a funeral.”
Describing Jayne as a “respected nurse and very professional at her job”, Mr Creaney said she “lived life to the full and was full of laughter and fun”.
Police gave few details about the Christmas Day incident, except to say a murder investigation had been launched, and did not name the victim.
However, in a Facebook post, heartbroken Charlotte Reat said her mother had died trying to protect her.
“My mum died saving me, I was stabbed twice in the head, once in my face and once to the back of my neck,” she said.
“I can still feel her in my arms and hear her screams of pain and see the panic on her face.”
Grieving Charlotte, who lives in Comber, revealed that she had been due to identify her mother’s body on Tuesday.
The former Belfast Metropolitan College student has been a winner for the past two years in the Strictly Craigavon Dancing competition.
In an emotional statement, which has been ‘liked’ more than 12,000 times and shared more than 4,000 times on Facebook, Charlotte said she wished she could trade places with her mother, who she described as “my hero forever”.
Tributes have poured in for Jayne on social media,with one woman hailing her as “a ray of sunshine”.
She added: “I still can’t come to terms with what’s happened but I just wanted to say Jayne you were far more than a second mummy to me you were, a friend, family, a counsellor, a shoulder to cry on, a teacher, a role model, an inspiration, a ray of sunshine and a comedian.
“You’ve made me laugh so much over the years and I can’t thank you enough for everything you ever done for me.”
The tragedy also shocked members of Moyraverty Arts and Drama Society (MADS) in Craigavon.
Charlotte, who is a talented dancer and choreographer, came runner-up in the annual Strictly competition, held last month by MADS.
And last year, Charlotte and her dance partner were the winners of the show.
Kieran Corr, chairman of MADS, said members were “in shock and gutted” by what had happened.
He added: “Charlotte is really into her dance and choreography and last year we raised money to help her attend a three-month residential course in Los Angeles.
“We extend our deepest sympathies and are thinking of her at this time.”
Police and ambulance personnel had been called to the house at Mornington Lane in Lisburn shortly after 6am on Christmas Day.
Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital received casualties from the incident.
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust confirmed that two people had been discharged.