/Man hanged himself after murdering partner then raping and killing her daughter

Man hanged himself after murdering partner then raping and killing her daughter

A Scottish manual worker killed his partner before raping and killing her teenage daughter in a ‘barbaric’ double murder-suicide, an inquest in Northern Ireland has heard.

The bodies of the mother and daughter were discovered in an apartment in Newry on March 7, 2019, along with Russell Steele by police after they had all been reported missing.

Coroner Joe McCrisken found Giselle Marimon-Herrera, 37, died from asphyxiation and suffocation and 15-year-old Allison Marimon-Herrera died due to manual strangulation and suffocation.

Their chihuahua dog was also found dead.

Mr McCrisken in County Armagh described the deaths of the mother and daughter as “one of the most difficult” inquests he has ever presided over.

Killer Russell Steele murdered his girlfriend and her daughter then ended his own life
(Image: Newraypics.com)

He said he could not be certain that Ms Marimon-Herrera had been sexually assaulted, but that there is evidence her daughter had been raped.

Steele was found to have died by hanging, and he had intended to die, the inquest heard. Torn women’s underwear was found in his pocket.

Steele’s family had been kept informed of the proceedings but chose not to attend, the hearing was told.

At the opening of proceedings on Thursday morning, Mr McCrisken said he was holding separate inquests into the deaths of Ms Marimon-Herrera and her daughter, and Steele.

He heard evidence about events in the run up to the deaths.

A statement from Ms Marimon-Herrera’s sister Paola was read to the inquest.

The bodies were found at flats in Glin Ree Court, Newry
(Image: PA)
Allison Marimon and Giselle Marimon-Herrera
(Image: Irish Mirror)

She described how her sister had arrived in Northern Ireland in 2016 after separating from her Portuguese husband, and was followed by her daughter in 2017.

She also told the inquest that her sister had felt Steele was “controlling” and she had wanted to end the relationship.

PSNI Investigating Officer Victoria Holmes said text messages exchanged between Steele and Ms Marimon-Herrera revealed a recent argument which included an attempt by her to end the relationship.

Statements from two Polish men, Szymon Kosecki and Pawel Bronk, who had been work colleagues of Steele, were read to court.

They are believed to be the last to have seen Ms Marimon-Herrera and her daughter alive after meeting up with the mother and Steele for a night out on Saturday March 2 at Brass Monkeys in Newry.

They returned to the Glin Ree Court apartment where they saw Miss Marimon-Herrera with her pet dog.

Police investigate at the scene in County Down, Northern Ireland
(Image: PA)

They stayed for around an hour for drinks, leaving at around 3am.

Ward Devlin, an ex-partner of Ms Marimon-Herrera, gave evidence to the inquest about how he raised the alarm after she failed to respond to messages for several days.

Neighbour Gerard Doran is believed to be the last person to have seen Steele alive.

He recalled to the inquest seeing Steele standing at the front door of the apartment complex on Sunday March 3 holding a holdall and a plastic bag, looking “agitated” and “unable to stand still”.

“I thought his behaviour was very strange at the time,” he told the inquest.

An examination of a laptop found in the apartment revealed research on lethal doses of paracetamol at 5.20am on Monday March 4.

Mr McCrisken put it to Ms Holmes that Steele had been preparing to leave before changing his mind and returning to the apartment where he took his own life.

The three bodies were discovered at the apartments in Newry

“If you are asking my personal opinion then yes,” she responded.

Steele had had two passports, his phone and a pair of torn ladies underwear which DNA evidence found were likely to have belonged to Miss Marimon-Herrera in his pockets.

The inquest also heard that phones likely to have been used by Ms Marimon-Herrera and her daughter had no recoverable information on them.

“It appears that the information was deleted from both devices,” Ms Holmes said.

A statement from Steele’s ex-wife was read to the inquest.

Margaret Steele said she met him through church as he battled a heroin addiction.

The killer had battled a heroin addiction, the court heard
(Image: Newraypics.com)

They had a temporary split in 2010 when he relapsed but in total they were married for 17 years and had two children together.

The marriage ended after she discovered her husband was having an affair with Ms Marimon-Herrera, who he had previously met in Spain before reconnecting via social media.

He then left their home in Kilmarnock to move to Northern Ireland.

The inquest heard Steele had a criminal record, which included a conviction for an assault which led to an eight-month prison sentence.

Miss Marimon-Herrera was described as quiet, and having battled with an eating disorder in the past, but had been doing well at the time of her death. She was a pupil at Newry High School.

Delivering his findings, Mr McCrisken said neither Ms Marimon-Herrera nor her daughter would have been likely to have been able to fend off Steele.

The family of the slain young women urged domestic violence victims to seek help
(Image: Photopress)

“The killing of Giselle Marimon-Herrera and her 15-year-old daughter Allison by Russell Steele was barbaric,” he said.

“Giselle Marimon-Herrera was a woman of small stature. Her 15-year-old daughter and her would have been unable to offer any resistance against an attack by Russell Steele.

“I am satisfied that he acted alone for a reason that is unknown. The killings were an impulsive act carried out by an individual with a history of aggression and violence.”

Mr McCrisken thanked members of the Marimon-Herrera family who attended the inquests at Armagh court house for their “dignity” throughout the police investigation and inquests, telling them they have been “through hell over the past year”.

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The family said they were devastated by the deaths, adding in a statement: “We are a very private family who have been catapulted into the public domain as a result of this murder.”

They thanked the public and others who organised donations, which the family used to travel from France and Colombia to Northern Ireland, where they were able to see where the victims had lived and to meet pupils and teachers at Allison’s school.

The fund also assisted in paying for the cremation in Belfast and for family members to travel to Portugal, where their ashes have been laid to rest.

The statement concluded: “The family appeal to anyone who is at risk of domestic violence to seek help.”

If you need to speak to someone, Samaritans are available 24/7 by calling 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org

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