RUC questioning 18 over party killing in Belfast

EIGHTEEN people, including at least two women, were still being questioned by the Royal Ulster Constabulary following the horrific killing this week of a 31-year-old woman in Belfast.

Police believe the woman, Margaret Wright, was savagely beaten and shot dead in a loyalist drinking club because her assailants believed she was Catholic. In fact, she was a Protestant from a staunchly loyalist part of the city.

Her killing has shocked even a city hardened by more than 1,500 killings in the past two-and-a-half decades. Her violent death was all the more poignant because it took place during the 72-hour IRA ceasefire, which ended at midnight last night.

Criminal charges are expected to be brought against a number of people next week, though detectives were uncertain yesterday whether there was enough evidence to substantiate murder charges.

Miss Wright's mother, Evelyn, described her killers as scum and said she hoped that they would suffer as they had made her daughter suffer. Miss Wright, who could not work because she suffered from epilepsy, was a regular church attender, but people who knew her said she suffered bouts of depression because of her condition and sometimes drank heavily.

It is believed she went with another woman to a hall in the south of the city, which is used by a loyalist flute band but which has recently been used for all-night parties. Locals said there had been complaints about noise, drinking and drug-taking at the premises.

Around 20 people are thought to have been in the hall when Miss Wright was beaten. Brush shafts and pool cues are among items taken away for forensic examination. She was subsequently shot several times in the head before her body was wheeled away in a bin and tossed over the yard wall of an empty house.

The family has received messages of sympathy from both Catholics and Protestants. The two main loyalist paramilitary groups, the Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster Volunteer Force, yesterday distanced themselves from the killings, with the UVF saying all drinking dens in loyalist areas had 72 hours to close.

A Protestant minister who knew Miss Wright said she sometimes became depressed because of her epilepsy, which she found a hard burden to carry.

The Rev James Lemon, a Methodist minister in the area where Miss Wright was killed, last night organised a public meeting to condemn the killing.

He said: 'The feeling here has run through all the various emotions that people have - anger, grief, sympathy, all mixed up.'

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before