Victims of horror double murder-suicide mourned

March 11, 2019

As people continue to come to terms with the horrific double murder-suicide that rocked Newry last week, a fundraising initiative has commenced to help with the repatriation costs faced by the grieving family of the mother and her daughter who were murdered in their flat in the city.

The bodies of Giselle Marimon-Herrera (37) and her 15-year-old daughter Allison were discovered on Thursday morning when police forced entry into their home in Glin Ree Court after concerned relatives reported that they had not been in contact for a number of days.  Officers found the bodies of the mother and daughter, alongside that of a 38-year-old man, later named as Russell Steele (38).  Initial post mortem results revealed Allison was strangled and while the results of the examination on Giselle were not definitive, police said there is a “strong possibility” that she too died by strangulation.  It is believed Steele killed the mother and daughter before taking his own life.

Following the horrific discovery, Det Supt Jason Murphy stated that a police murder investigation is underway and although they are not seeking anyone else in relation to the crime, detectives are working to establish what exactly happened at the flat, describing it as an “unspeakable tragedy”.

The scene at Glin Ree Court in Newry on Thursday morning after police forced entry to an apartment to discover the bodies of three people.  Giselle Marimon-Herrera and her teenage daughter Allison were strangled to death while Russell Steele, the man believed to be their killer, died by suicide.

“I believe that Giselle and Allison were still alive in the early hours of Sunday morning but family members have not been able to contact them since,” he said.

“The exact circumstances of what happened in their home remains the subject of our investigation.

 “I would appeal today to anyone who came into direct contact with either Giselle or Allison, or communicated with them via text or social media since Friday [1st March], to contact detectives in Newry.

“We are currently supporting the families of those involved as well as Newry High School. I would ask that they are given the time and space to come to terms with these tragic events.”

Steele lived in a neighbouring apartment and is believed to have been in a relationship for the last nine months with Ms Marimon-Herrera who was originally from Colombia and had lived in Newry for the last four years.  

Her daughter came to live here in 2017 and had been a pupil at Newry High School where Principal Iestyn Brown described her as a talented and kind pupil.

Murder victims Giselle Marimon-Herrera (37)  and her daughter Allison (15).

Extending his sympathy to the bereaved family, Mr Brown said: “The entire Newry High School community is deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of our Year 11 pupil Allison.  

“Allison was a talented, kind, courteous and well-mannered pupil with a beautiful smile. Both staff and pupils are profoundly saddened by her death and she will be remembered with great affection by her fellow pupils and staff alike.  Our hearts go out to Allison’s family circle; they are foremost in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time.”

News of the double murder and suicide caused shockwaves across the district as people struggled to come to terms with the horrific events.

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty says the deaths have “cast a dark cloud” over Newry.

“This is a quiet, normal sort of town and this is a part of that town.  That makes this all the more shocking, all the more sad,” he said.  “My thoughts and prayers are with the family and close friends of the deceased.”

Ulster Unionist councillor David Taylor said the news had caused disbelief adding that he is “extremely saddened” at the tragedy: “There is understandably great shock within the local community regarding this news and my thoughts and prayers are with the family members of the deceased at this time,” he said.

Originally from Scotland, police believe Russell Steele (pictured) murdered Giselle Marimon-Herrera and her daughter Allison before killing himself.

DUP MLA William Irwin extended his sympathy to the bereaved, saying his thoughts and prayers are with the wider family of the deceased.

Sinn Fein councillor Charlie Casey offered his sympathies to the families of those involved and encouraged anyone with information that may help the police investigation to come forward.

Independent councillor David Hyland said there is a “tremendous sense of shock” in the city.   “You normally hear of these types of incidents, murder suicides, happening around the world, not in a quiet residential area like Glin Ree Court,” he said.

As the people of Newry struggle to come to terms with the tragedy, concerned members of the community have set up a fundraising initiative aimed at helping with the repatriation costs of returning the bodies of Allison and Giselle to her native Colombia.  

SDLP Councillor Michael Savage says he has secured the support of Newry Credit Union to set up a repatriation fund, aimed at assisting the grieving family.

Councillor Savage said: “The people of the city have been asking if a local Newry Repatriation Fund could be set up to assist the family of Giselle and Allison.  Their deaths have shocked the people of our city and district and our hearts go out to the family who are struggling to come to terms with this terrible tragedy from so far away.

“This fund will assist in covering flight and accommodation costs for family members who want to travel here and also assist with the repatriation of the bodies and other support the family may need.”

Donations can be made online or in person at the Credit Union from today (Monday).  Collection boxes will also be available.

Online donations can be made to Account Number 84109694 Sort code – 902338 or international donations via: Iban GB95 BOFI 902 9023 3884 1096 94. Bic – BOFI GB2B.

Go Fund Me Pages have also been set up locally to help the family.