Major Investigation Team Detectives have acknowledged the sentence handed down to Raymond O’Neill for the murder of Jennifer Dornan.
O’Neill, aged 44, was sentenced today, Friday 24 June, at Laganside Court in Belfast and will serve 22 years in prison.
Jennifer Dornan, who was 30 years old, was murdered in August 2015 at her home in the Lagmore area of west Belfast.
Detective Superintendent Eamonn Corrigan said: “Jennifer’s body was found in her Hazel View home in the early hours of Sunday 2 August 2015.
“She had been out with friends the previous night. Raymond O’Neill was a passenger in the car that gave Jennifer and her friends a lift. It is believed this was the first time they ever met. After the evening out, Jennifer went back to a friend’s house on her way home, where she again came into Raymond O’Neill’s company.
“She left this address alone and walked the short distance home. However CCTV shows that she was followed a short time later by O’Neill.
"O’Neill entered the house having tried to conceal his identity from CCTV. He stabbed Jennifer in the chest causing her death, and then set fire to the property.
“This was an atrocious, senseless and cold-blooded attack. It left a family devastated and three young children – two boys and a girl – without their mother.
“The arson, which was O’Neill’s attempt to cover his tracks, added to their heartbreak. It left an innocent young woman’s body unrecognisable and a family home destroyed.
“This was a challenging and complex investigation. O’Neill attempted to conceal his identity, destroyed evidence of his crimes through arson and then left the jurisdiction in the days after the murder.
“It was only through years of hard work and dedication by the investigating detectives with assistance of An Garda Síochána and Public Prosecution Service colleagues, that brought O’Neill to justice.
“Today our thoughts are with Jennifer’s family and acknowledge their grit and determination during this difficult and lengthy journey through the Criminal Justice System.
“It is almost seven years on now, and the family's pain is understandably as raw as ever.
“At no stage has O’Neill shown any remorse for carrying out this sickening and incredibly violent act. I can only hope that today’s sentencing offers some assurance that we will work tirelessly to bring offenders to justice."