A person has been charged with murdering a carer isolating at dwelling with Covid-19.
Val Heaney was discovered lifeless inside her dwelling in Bromley, Christchurch on Monday, April 4. Darkish smears of what gave the impression to be blood may very well be seen on the entrance door of her Walcot St dwelling.
Heaney’s loss of life was initially handled as “unexplained”. Nonetheless, after an post-mortem on Thursday it was upgraded to a murder inquiry.
On Saturday, Detective Senior Sergeant Nicola Reeves mentioned a 42-year-old man had been charged with homicide, and was identified to Heaney. The person will seem in court docket on Monday.
Reeves thanked the group for his or her “assist and co-operation” all through the investigation.
“I’d additionally wish to acknowledge the dedication of the investigation staff, who’ve labored tirelessly to realize this consequence.
“We lengthen our deepest sympathies to Val’s household at this troublesome time as they grieve the lack of their liked one.”
Heaney’s household earlier launched a press release, saying they had been grieving the lack of a “much-loved member of the family”.
“Our household has been inundated with assist, and we’re grateful for this,” they mentioned.
“Val was a carer for folks with mental disabilities, and a group assist employee, which is testomony to the type, fantastic particular person she was.”
The household had been grateful for the assist from police and Sufferer Assist and had been “determined to know precisely what occurred to Val”.
The information that police believed Heaney had been killed got here as a shock to her buddies and neighbours.
Doris Phillips had identified Heaney for 13 years.
“She was actually such a beautiful, form girl. She was so liked by so many individuals.”
Phillips’ son-in-law spoke to Heaney on Sunday, and he or she advised him she was isolating with Covid-19.
He mentioned she “sounded positive” and “fairly chirpy”. Her son-in-law mentioned he would go to her as soon as she had recovered from Covid-19.
Phillips was “actually shocked” when she heard police had ramped up their investigation.
“She was such a beautiful girl. I don’t suppose she ever harmed anybody ever.”
Heaney beforehand labored as a carer at a supplier of providers for folks with mental disabilities.
She later labored as a group assist employee at Brackenridge, a charitable organisation that gives assist to kids, younger folks and adults with mental disabilities and autism.
Her daughter, Natasha, who had Down Syndrome, died final yr. The pair used to go on excursions with Identification Excursions the place Heaney volunteered for about two years.
Heaney’s daughter lived on the Henderson Neighborhood Home for just a few years earlier than her loss of life.
The home’s supervisor, Kirsty Crossley, mentioned Heaney was an everyday customer on the dwelling and have become buddies with most of the employees members, she mentioned.
Her daughter’s loss of life final yr was one thing Heaney “was coming to phrases with slowly”, however she continued to remain in contact and visited the house.
Heaney had a “massive coronary heart” and “massive character, a straight shooter”, Crossley mentioned.
“It’s what it’s with Val and also you knew the place you stood… She was a beautiful girl.”
One other of Heaney’s buddies mentioned his household knew her and her late husband Gavin for about 40 years.
They lately had a celebration at Heaney’s home for her late-daughter.
“It was a beautiful event and Val was in excessive spirits and bubbly as ever regardless of lately dropping her daughter and at all times lacking Gavin.
“She at all times had a smile on her face and tried to make different folks pleased and really feel higher. She had numerous empathy and look after different folks regardless of her personal grief of dropping her family members.”
A neighbour mentioned he additionally spoke with Heaney on Sunday when she was mowing her garden. She had lately examined optimistic for Covid-19, however regardless of being unwell she appeared in good spirits, he mentioned.A neighbour, named solely as Alan, mentioned he had “feared the worst” when officers arrived at Heaney’s dwelling on Monday.
“I believed that’s not trying excellent in any respect.”
Within the days since there had been a big police presence on the property, together with forensics employees. Police may very well be seen analyzing the veranda and a door close to her bed room that went onto the decking.
He described Heaney as a “very nice girl” whose dwelling was “completely immaculate”.
“You’d eat your breakfast off the ground, it was that clear. You’d stroll in and suppose, ‘wow this can be a well-organised place’.”
Heaney’s loss of life was the fifth murder in Canterbury this yr.
It got here simply two days after Beverley Joan McIlraith and her son Nick Myles McIlraith’s our bodies had been discovered at an Ayr St property in Riccarton.