PSNI detectives investigating murder of girl (2) arrest woman

Arrest occurs after detectives granted more time to question male suspect

Detectives investigating the murder of a two-year-old girl in Northern Ireland have arrested a woman hours after being granted more time to question a male suspect.

The 24-year-old woman was detained on suspicion of “perverting the course of justice, causing or permitting the death of a child and child cruelty”, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

A 32-year-old man was earlier arrested on suspicion of murder following the death of the toddler – named locally as Ali Jayden Maguire – in Dungannon, Co Tyrone on Friday.

Both the man and woman remained in custody, the PSNI said on Sunday.

The toddler victim was admitted to hospital after the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was called to a house in Park Avenue in Dungannon. She later died.

A number of hours later the male suspect was detained.

The toddler’s mother is originally from Dublin and had recently moved to the area. It has been reported that they did not live at the address where the child was discovered.

Friends and family left ornaments and teddy bears alongside sympathy messages, flowers and cards outside the home where the child – known as AJ – was discovered seriously injured.

It is understood she had suffered head injuries.

Police say a postmortem investigation will be carried out to establish the cause of the child’s death.

The child’s family is being supported by PSNI family liaison officers.

Court extension

On Sunday, detectives from the PSNI’s major investigation team said they had been granted a court extension for an additional 36 hours to question the 32-year-old male suspect.

Later the same day, they confirmed the arrest of the woman.

The victim’s aunt Cuirnan, who did not reveal her surname, thanked the public for their messages of sympathy in recent days via a Facebook post.

Forensic officers and the PSNI remained at the scene on Sunday.

Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew said the community was in a state of shock.

“My thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy,” she said.

“A police murder investigation is under way and that must be allowed to proceed and I would call on anyone with any information which may help those inquiries to contact the PSNI.”

Former Stormont first minister Arlene Foster said: “Another tragic death in the constituency, this time a little girl.

“Thinking of all those dealing with this awful event, and trying to make sense of it all.” – Additional reporting PA