The heartbroken sister of a woman, with connections to Coleraine, who died earlier this year, has said her family won’t give up in the search for justice, after the case against the man charged with her murder collapsed last week.
Mairead McCallion, who was a former employee of Coleraine accountancy firm Irwin, Donaghy Stockman, was found with head injuries at a house in Castleview Court in Omagh in February this year.
She was rushed to the Erne Hospital, but sadly she died the next day.
Mairead’s former partner, Noel Knox (50) had been charged with her murder.
However, during a brief court hearing last Tuesday at Omagh Magistrates’ Court, the court heard that the prosecution was dropping the murder charge against 50-year-old Knox of Knockshee Park in the county Tyrone town.
In a statement, the Public Prosecution Service said: “We have carefully considered all available evidence and consider that this does not meet the test for prosecution.
“In this case, there were particular concerns about the inconclusive aspect of the expert medical evidence.”
Ms McCallion worked in the accounting staff at Irwin Donaghey Stockman chartered accountants on Queen Street in Coleraine from 2002 to 2005.
She moved to Coleraine to be close to her sister Patricia, who works in local government here.
Whilst in Coleraine, Mairead lived in a flat in Rosemary Place, Millburn and was described as being “quiet and kept to herself.”
Speaking to The Times last week, Mairead’s sister, Patricia O’Brien, told The Times that the family have been left ‘devastated’ by the court ruling.
“We are just gutted, we didn’t expect this to happen.
“It is just beyond belief that this man has been cleared.
“We as a family met with the PSNI last week, and we believed that there was a strong case for trial.
“We expected to hear a trial date after the court last Tuesday, not that the charges had been dropped.”
Describing her sister as ‘a lovely person’, Patricia said that the family still had some hope that there would be justice for Mairead.
“We will not give up - there is no doubt in my mind that Mairead’s death was not through natural causes,” told Patricia.
“Mairead was a lovely person, she would’ve given you her last penny, she didn’t deserve this.
“As a family we will not give up, we will try everything to get justice of our Mairead, this is not the end.”
Officiating at Mairead’s funeral service at Sacred Heart Church in Omagh, Fr Dermot McGirr said: “Mairead had a quiet personality, had a good sense of humour and was kind and gentle to others.
“She had a caring way about her and enjoyed spending time with her nieces and nephews.
“She was also a person of faith, a strong faith which she nurtured.
In a statement the PSNI said that the case was under review and inquiries were continuing.