Knockloughrim murder: Victim named locally as Katrina Rainey

Friends of murder victim Katrina Rainey described her as a ‘very nice hard working woman’.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 5:13 pm

Katrina died tragically in hospital a short time after she was freed from a burning car outside her home in Knockloughrim, a village between Maghera and Magherafelt.

Her daughter Heather (6) died in 2002 after a wall collapsed on her and two of her siblings.

The PSNI has launched a murder investigation after Katrina, who is in her 50s, died on Tuesday.

The scene as a murder investigation is under way after a woman was found in a burning car in Knockloughrim. Police were called to a house at Quarry Road after a car was reported on fire at 05:40 BST on Tuesday. The woman, who was in her 50s, died in hospital on Tuesday evening. A 59-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He was also taken to hospital for treatment for burn injuries. Pic Pacemaker

The emergency services rushed to the scene on Quarry Road and took Katrina to hospital but despite their best efforts, medics were unable to save her.

A 59-year-old man was arrested by detectives from PSNI’s Major Investigation Team. He too was taken to hospital, for treatment for burns.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said: “At around 5.40am [on Tuesday] morning police received a report of a car on fire outside a house on the road. Police and NIFRS attended the scene and a woman, aged in her 50s, who was in the car was taken to hospital for treatment. Sadly, despite the best efforts of hospital staff, she succumbed to her injuries and died in hospital this evening.

“A 59-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He has also been taken to hospital for treatment for burn injuries.

The scene as a murder investigation is under way after a woman was found in a burning car in Knockloughrim. Police were called to a house at Quarry Road after a car was reported on fire at 05:40 BST on Tuesday. The woman, who was in her 50s, died in hospital on Tuesday evening. A 59-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He was also taken to hospital for treatment for burn injuries. Pic Pacemaker

“My investigation is at a very early stage and I would appeal to anyone who was on the Quarry Road early this morning and who witnessed anything to contact Detectives on 101 quoting reference 227 12/10/21.”

DUP Cllr Anne Forde knows the family well and is heartbroken for Mrs Rainey’s children.

She knows one of the daughters well through the local Knockloughrim Accordion Band and Ballinacross Accordion Band.

“It is certainly very tragic. Very sad to hear that the mother has lost her life. The community is stunned. The community can’t believe this has happened in such a wee rural country area where neighbours work together and look out for one another. We don’t know what happened and it is under investigation. All I can do is offer my sympathy to the family. It is a terrible tragedy and it is in the hands of the law now.

“The community will rally round and support the children,” said Cllr Forde. “You feel for the children at this time with their mother gone.”

Cllr Forde described Mrs Rainey as a ‘very nice woman’.

“She was very helpful, always talking to people. She worked in Poundland in Magherafelt. She was a nurse in her early days and then she came to work in Poundland to have a bit more time with the children and a wee bit more hometime.

“The girls (in Poundland) were saying yesterday there was never a dull minute with her. She was always active, doing her job and never complained. She was a very nice woman, always helpful and would have done anything to help the community.

“It’s just so sad as she was such a nice woman who never complained about anything and did her job to the best of her ability.

“The community is stunned. They can’t believe that this has happened and that she has gone. The community is devastated but we will all rally round to help the family.”

Cllr Forde revealed that the family had been involved in Knockloughrim According Band and Ballinacross Accordion Band throughout their lives and that is how she got to know them. “One band helps out the other.”

DUP Cllr Derek McKinney described the murder as a tragedy. “My thoughts go out to the family who are left behind.”

Sinn Fein Cllr Sean McPeake said: “Obviously the house is very visible along the roadside and people were very very stunned at what they heard of the tragedy involving a fire in the car. But then news developed on Tuesday. As news filtered out that it was actually a murder inquiry, that brought a new level to it and caused widespread grief and fear within the community. I have never seen a community as stunned with what has happened.

“If anyone has any information about the incident they should be giving it to the police as this matter needs some form of clarity for both the family and the community.”

SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has said that the suspected murder of a woman in Knockloughrim is deeply shocking.

The Mid Ulster MLA said: “The news that the death of a woman in Knockloughrim is being treated as suspected murder is deeply shocking. My thoughts at this moment are with the woman’s family and friends.

“The police have launched an investigation into the death, and anyone with any information should contact them immediately.”

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