Man charged with murder of woman in Ballymena

Police say victim (32) had been stabbed several times


A 41-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a woman in Ballymena, Co Antrim. He is expected to appear in court later this morning.

The 32-year-old woman, named by the PSNI as Denise Dunlop, was found dead at an address in Centuripe Avenue in the town in the early hours of yesterday morning. She had been stabbed repeatedly.

The house where she was found is in a quiet area near the town centre known locally as the “army houses”.

These were used by the British army prior to the closure of a local barracks and handed over to a local housing association.

Following renovation, they were made available to the public.

SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan said: “Like everyone in Ballymena, I am shocked and saddened to hear of this tragic news.

“I express my sympathy to the victim’s family, and my thoughts and prayers are with them at this heartbreaking time,” he said.

He said people living in the avenue kept very much to themselves and many had only recently moved into the area.

“The matter is under police investigation and we should await the outcome of that, and I urge anyone with any information to contact the PSNI immediately,” he added.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Daithí McKay said: “The community here are shocked at what has taken place in an otherwise quiet part of the town. People’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of this young woman at this difficult time.”

According to statistics released by the PSNI, the number of murders is falling in Northern Ireland.

In the year to April, the most recent period for which figures are available, 20 people were murdered. This contrasts with a figure of 22 for the previous year to April 2013.

Overall, crime figures involving violence against victims is also down by just over 4 per cent last year.