‘My mum died saving me’

Jayne Toal Reat.
Jayne Toal Reat.

The daughter of the woman who was stabbed to death in Lisburn on Christmas Day has said her mother sacrificed her own life to save her.

Jayne Toal Reat, who was a nurse at Craigavon Area Hospital, died following an early morning incident at a house in the Mornington area of the city.

The scene at the Mornington housing development in Lisburn on Christmas Day as police investigate the death of a woman at a property. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

The scene at the Mornington housing development in Lisburn on Christmas Day as police investigate the death of a woman at a property. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

A 19-year-old man was arrested soon afterwards, and at time of going to print it was understood he was still being questioned.

Police gave few details about the incident, except to say a murder investigation had been launched, and did not name the victim.

However, in a Facebook post, Charlotte Reat said her mother had died trying to protect her.

“My mum died saving me, I was stabbed twice in the head, once in my face and once to the back of my neck,” she said.

“I can still feel her in my arms and hear her screams of pain and see the panic on her face.”

The message thanked everyone who expressed their support for the family.

It added: “Jayne Toal Reat you died saving my life and I just wish I could trade places with you.

“You are my hero forever and always and I’ll never forget you... I love you my beautiful mummy forever and always.”

Police and ambulance personnel were called to the scene of the stabbing at a house in Mornington Lane shortly after 6am on Christmas Day.

The local community has been left in a state of shock by the terrible events in the normally quiet cul-de-sac.

“People across Lisburn are in shock this morning,” SDLP MLA Pat Catney said on Monday. “Instead a family is waking up on Christmas morning to news of the death of a loved one. I can’t begin to imagine the pain they’re feeling today.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the woman’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”

Alliance Party councillor Amanda Grehan commented: “This is a relatively new development, made up of people from all walks of life, and is usually very quiet.

“There is a shock among residents in the wider Mornington area, as they have never had to deal with anything like this here before.”

Councillor Grehan also said her thoughts were with the family of the woman who died.

She added: “Christmas Day is one most people spend with their families and is full of joyous moments. However, now we have one family plunged into grief and despair.

“I would urge anyone with information on this terrible incident to take it to police immediately.”

DUP Councillor Andrew Ewing said his thoughts and prayers were with the families of all those affected by the tragedy.

“I can’t even begin to imagine what the victims’ families must be going through,” he added.

The Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh, Cllr Tim Morrow, expressed his sympathies to the family and friends of the woman who was killed.

“I was horrified to learn about the death of a woman in Lisburn on Christmas Day, especially in such brutal and shocking circumstances and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones at this time,” he said.

John Creaney, a Unison trade union representative at Craigavon Area Hospital, said Jayne’s colleagues were “in total shock”.

“I got the phone call at 11.30 on Christmas morning and I couldn’t take it in,” he said.

“It felt as if someone had ripped my heart open. To think that other families were sitting together opening presents and this family was having to organise a funeral.”

He described the respected nurse as a “bubbly, smiling person who lived life to the full and was full of laughter and fun”.

He added: “Jayne was a dedicated nurse and very professional at her job. On behalf of Unison Craigavon, I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the family on their tragic loss.”