Police believe Natalie McNally knew her killer as detectives investigate 'targeted' attack

Police have revealed that they do not believe the suspect in Natalie McNally's murder is a risk to other women.

In a press conference on Thursday, the PSNI revealed that they believe McNally knew her killer and that it was a 'targeted' attack.

The 32-year-old was killed on 18 December and was 15 weeks pregnant at the time of her murder.

Speaking in Carrickfergus, Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness said: "I'm still keeping an open mind, but my main line of inquiry is that the murder was committed by someone that Natalie knew and indeed was comfortable allowing into her home," he said.

In regard to the murder weapon, the detective added: "I believe I have recovered what was the weapon used to murder Natalie McNally."

Mr McGuinness said he believed the weapon was from Ms McNally's home and was not brought to the property by her killer.

The PSNI press conference took place ahead of a silent vigil for the expectant mother at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

Ms McNally's three brothers were among those who attended the Stormont event on Thursday afternoon.

Mr McGuinness reiterated his appeal for help identifying a man seen arriving at and leaving the street where Ms McNally lived on the night of the murder.

"Our efforts to identify the man captured in the footage remains ongoing and I would appeal to anyone who believes that they recognise this person to get in touch," he said.

"Someone must know who he is and I would appeal to you to do the decent thing to get in touch with me. Do you really want to protect a man who could kill a woman and her unborn baby? I believe Natalie knew her killer and police have no information to suggest a risk to other women."

Mr McGuinness said officers were keen to build up a picture of Ms McNally's lifestyle, including her friends and relationships.

He said officers have so far conducted 200 house-to-house inquiries, seized 3,000 hours of CCTV footage and sent 50 items for forensic examination.

"The deaths of Natalie and her unborn baby have left unimaginable pain and heartache to a loving and devoted family whose hearts are simply broken," he said.

"We remain determined to bring her killer to justice and I'm asking anyone with any information to do the right thing and to speak up."

Mr McGuinness told the press conference: "I believe that Natalie knew her killer.

"I believe that there was a pre-existing some form of relationship with her killer and someone that she was content to allow into her home, so I believe this was a targeted attack towards Natalie McNally."

He added: "I am keeping an open mind whether this was a pre-planned attack or something that developed when the killer arrived at the address," Mr McGuinness added.

The detective was asked about online rumours linking Ms McNally to a serving police officer.

"They're not helpful," he replied.

"We have conducted investigations into that matter and we've eliminated that person from inquiries."

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