Derry man sentenced to life after pleading guilty to murder of wife at family farm

Thomas Johnston Rainey admitted murdering Katrina Rainey who died after being trapped inside burning car

A Derry man was handed a life sentence on Friday after he admitted murdering his wife at their family farm.

Thomas Johnston Rainey appeared at Belfast Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to murdering his wife Katrina Rainey in October 2021.

The mother-of-six died after being trapped inside a car that became engulfed in flames outside her home on the Quarry Road on the outskirts of Knockloughrim.

Despite being rushed to hospital by emergency services who attended the early morning scene, the former midwife died from extensive burns.


At a hearing last November, her husband (61) denied the murder charge, but defence barrister Greg Berry KC said his client “accepts that his actions caused the death of his wife” and a consultant psychiatrist’s report was being sought.

The case was listed again on Friday, and after Rainey was produced via a videolink with HMP Maghaberry, Mr Berry said this report has now been compiled and supplied to the court.

He said: “In light of that, I have an application that Mr Rainey be re-arraigned on the single count.”

The defendant, from Quarry Road in Knockloughrim, was then charged with murdering Katrina Rainey on October 12, 2021.

When asked how he pleaded, Rainey replied “guilty.”

He was then addressed by Mr Justice O’Hara, who told him: “The court will sit at a later date to fix the minimum time that you have to serve in prison before you can be considered for release.

“But today, since you have pleaded guilty to the murder, I sentence you to life imprisonment.”

Mr Berry spoke of his client’s “lengthy and complex mental health history” and said he would be seeking a pre-sentence report.

Crown KC Richard Weir told Mr Justice O’Hara that victim impact reports were also being sought by the prosecution.

Saying Mrs Rainey’s family “have waited some time for this to come to a head”, Mr Justice O’Hara stressed the need for a prompt tariff hearing.

The senior judge set the date for the hearing as Monday, June 26th, and Rainey was remanded back into custody.