Three held af­ter Fer­managh mum’s road crash death be­comes a mur­der probe,

Belfast Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - BY VIC­TO­RIA LEONARD

THE launch of a mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the death of a Fer­managh mum-of-one in a car crash has “heaped heartache upon heartache” on her griev­ing fam­ily, a close friend has said.

Let­ter­breen wo­man Natasha Carruthers (23), was killed on Der­rylin’s New­bridge Road just be­fore mid­night on Satur­day in what po­lice orig­i­nally be­lieved was a “one-ve­hi­cle crash”.

Of­fi­cers said that an­other wo­man and a man, also be­lieved to be in their 20s, were taken to hospi­tal with se­ri­ous in­juries.

The car in which Natasha was trav­el­ling as a front-seat pas­sen­ger hit a tree and it was re­ported that the male driver of the ve­hi­cle was trans­ferred to the Royal Vic­to­ria Hospi­tal, Belfast.

Yes­ter­day, five days af­ter the crash, the PSNI re­vealed that they are now treat­ing the col­li­sion as mur­der, and are search­ing for a sec­ond ve­hi­cle which is be­lieved to have been in­volved.

De­tec­tive Chief In­spec­tor Ea­monn Cor­ri­gan (above) said that a 40-year-old man was ar­rested in the Maguires­bridge area on Wed­nes­day night.

An­other man, aged 20, was also ar­rested in Maguires­bridge yes­ter­day. Both were still in cus­tody last night.

Po­lice said last night a 20 year-old wo­man had also been ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice. DCI Cor­ri­gan said: “At this time we be­lieve that a sec­ond ve­hi­cle was in­volved in the col­li­sion that cost Natasha her life and our en­quiries to date have led us to con­clude that the col­li­sion should now be re­garded as mur­der. “We con­tinue to ap­peal to any­one who was in the New­bridge Road area of Der­rylin between 11pm and mid­night on the night of Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 7.

“Did you see the car Natasha

was trav­el­ling in, a blue Corsa, regis­tra­tion TLZ 8330? Or did you see any other ve­hi­cles trav­el­ling at speed on the route at around the time of the crash?

“We would also like any­one with dash­cam footage that could help the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to please get in touch with us.”

En­niskillen pho­tog­ra­pher April Rooney, who is a close friend of Natasha’s fam­ily and last year pho­tographed the young mum with her one-yearold daugh­ter Lily-Rose, said the news that her death was be­ing

treated as mur­der had “made her sick”. She added: “It re­ally does make you sick that there could be some­one out there who killed the mother of a one-yearold baby.

“Natasha was a lovely girl who would do any­thing for you. She was very down to earth.

“She doted on her baby daugh­ter and her an­i­mals and she was the ap­ple of her par­ents’ eyes.

“Al­most ex­actly a year ago, Natasha came in with Lily-Rose for a photo shoot. She was de­voted to her. Natasha’s dad Mervyn is still in shock.

“It was bad enough to lose her in a car crash, but to learn it may have been mur­der is hor­rific.

“I re­mem­ber the day Natasha was born — her dad came in and he was over the moon.

“This news has just heaped

heartache upon heartache. They are go­ing through a ter­ri­ble or­deal, and I don’t know what they will do.”

For­mer Devenish High School pupil Natasha, who worked at En­niskillen’s Bright Eyes An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary, was laid to rest af­ter a ser­vice at Ros­sorry Parish Church on Wed­nes­day.

Rev­erend Canon Ian Ellis, who con­ducted the ser­vice, said her par­ents were still in a “state of dis­be­lief” over what had hap­pened.

“They are still try­ing to process it. The news that it could have been mur­der will make it all the more dif­fi­cult and per­plex­ing, and will cause more heartache,” he added.

“The church was filled dur­ing her funeral ser­vice, so many peo­ple came to share their memo- ries. Young peo­ple came to pay their re­spects and sup­port the fam­ily, who have re­ceived sup­port from mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

“We re­flected upon how much she was loved and cher­ished.”

Post­ing on Face­book, Li­lyRose’s fa­ther Matthew Tag­gart de­scribed Natasha as “an an­gel” and said he was “so heart­bro­ken”.

He wrote: “I love you to the moon and back.

“Our wee girl is gonna be like you when she’s older. She will never for­get who you are!”

Vice chair­man of Fer­managh and Omagh District Coun­cil Alex Baird said he had been “sur­prised” to learn where the ac­ci­dent had oc­curred.

It took place on a straight sec­tion of the New­bridge Road, just as the car was climb­ing to the top of a hill.

The car was trav­el­ling in the di­rec­tion of Lis­naskea from Der­rylin.

“It wouldn’t have been a dan­ger­ous part of the road, and a high grip sur­face had been put down there,” he re­vealed.

Fer­managh and South Ty­rone UUP MLA Rose­mary Bar­ton said that the launch of the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion would “fur­ther add to the dif­fi­cul­ties of the griev­ing fam­ily and fur­ther com­pound the shock felt by the com­mu­nity in Fer­managh, who are still in a state of dis­be­lief fol­low­ing Natasha’s death”.

She added that the com­mu­nity would fo­cus on sup­port­ing Natasha’s fam­ily.

When asked why it had taken five days to launch a mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, a PSNI spokesper­son said po­lice had been “car­ry­ing out ex­ten­sive en­quiries since the col­li­sion oc­curred and as pre­vi­ously stated th­ese have led us to con­clude that the col­li­sion should now be re­garded as mur­der”.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion on the col­li­sion can con­tact po­lice on 101, quot­ing ref­er­ence 1852 07/10/17.

❝ It makes you sick that some­one could be out there who killed the mother of a young baby

Scene of the crash on the New­bridge Road, between Der­rylin and Lis­naskea, Co Fer­managh, where Natasha Carruthers was killed on Satur­day night

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