Crime documentary series examining successfully solved murder cases from Northern Ireland, featuring dramatic reconstruction, expert witnesses and archive footage.
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This programme contains very strong language and scenes that some viewers may find upsetting.
On Wednesday 21st November 2007, 17-year-old Wendy McAteer was
brutally attacked on the Blackburn Path in Limavady.
Her injuries proved fatal and as her attacker fled the scene,
Wendy was left to die alone on the darkened pathway.
Wendy was a kind, kind person,
very soft at heart.
Did all she could for other people.
You know, never had... Never could say no.
She just had a lot of time for everybody.
She wasn't selfish or nothing like that, she just, she wanted to be involved in everything.
Her interests were mainly her family.
She was very home-orientated
and was very good to her mum.
We done everything together.
Where you seen Wendy, you seen me.
Where you seen me, you seen Wendy.
We were just joined to the hip.
While Wendy enjoyed a close and protective home life, at school, she had few friends
of her own age and often sought the company of adults, including that of classroom assistant Linda Ferris.
You know whenever girls start to change and dye their hair and open their top buttons and,
you know, raise their skirt levels and things, Wendy... that just never happened.
She was just the same wee girl that I knew in 1st year that I knew in 5th year.
She wanted to be a hairdresser.
She was always combing and brushing and doing mine.
And she went and she done training in a hairdresser's, and she loved it, absolutely loved it.
And she'd actually enrolled for that year to go into college that year to start it off,
but she never really got that far.
She was just beginning her life
when it ended.
Wendy had just started planning her future when a chance meeting changed everything.
In the latter part of 2006, Terry Whiting travelled with his brother
to Northern Ireland for the purpose of work.
He stayed here for approximately two or three weeks.
During his time here in Limavady, he met up with Wendy McAteer at a local bar.
Whiting returned to England, but the pair remained in regular contact
and quickly struck up a text-based relationship.
Next thing you knew, within the month, Wendy had received a text from him to say that he was coming
over in a couple of days' time to meet up with her and he was going to be staying for a month or so.
Whiting's interest in Wendy seemed to be reciprocated
and she was flattered by the persistence of his attentions.
She'd say that she'd have to go down the town, and we were going on down the town and she says,
"Drop me off at the petrol station, you're not going down to the bus station with me to see him, no way."
She says, "You're so hypocritical.
"You don't judge him," and all this.
She says, "Just drop me off at the station,"
she says, "and I'll walk down, if that's all right?
But after we dropped her off, we drove on down to have a look.
and this really older-looking guy was standing there.
He was really scruffy, he looked a bit like a tramp.
And I said, "Eileen, I hope and pray to God that's not him."
"No," she says, "that's not him." She says, "Don't worry, that's not him. He's not here yet.
"She must have to meet up with him."
I says, "Right, we'll go back round and see if we can catch the two of them together,"
just to see if she'd met up with him.
We went down round and we'd seen her hand in hand with that guy and we were like, "Oh, my God."
And Eileen was just so shocked at the fact that she would be
with somebody like that herself, because he was quite old-looking.
-Terry, this is my mum.
-All right, Terry, how're you doing?
-And that's Sharon.
All right, Sharon? All right?
And that's my daddy, Colm.
-All right, Colm?
-The relationship gained momentum and before long,
Wendy formally introduced her family to Terry Whiting.
And that's my brother, Paul.
All right there, Paul? Give us a shake, mate. Give us a shake.
'Paul was out working that night and
'he'd just popped in to say hello.'
He looked him up and down and that was enough
for him, he just didn't like him from the look of him straight off.
Despite the family's reservations, the romance blossomed and by Valentine's Day 2007, the pair had
announced their engagement and spoke of their plans to move in together.
And I said to Eileen, "There's no way, do not even let them go there."
I said, "She's just 16."
She goes, "Well, what do you think I should do?" I said, "Well, the only other option you're left with is
"to let him come in here."
Reluctantly, the McAteers invited Terry to live with Wendy in the family home,
believing that by doing so, they could protect their daughter.
There was no doubt that the two of them got on well together during the initial part of the relationship.
They spent a lot of time together.
Wendy had just finished school,
Whiting was not involved in any employment,
so throughout the day and evening, they were in each other's company.
It didn't matter where you went or what you were doing, he was just there all the time.
You know, you couldn't really have a sort of private one-to-one
conversation with Wendy after he came along.
And I do think it really did bother them that they couldn't actually just have their daughter by herself,
but it wasn't for lack of trying.
In a rare stolen moment, Wendy confessed to Sharon that she
no longer intended to pursue her ambition to become a hairdresser.
I said, "Why are you not going to go and do it now?"
She says, "Oh, because me and Terry was thinking about saving up and we were thinking about getting
"a house, and we just want to start our life by ourselves together first and
"get our life together, and then I'll think about it down the line maybe."
But in a way, I thought, the way she's talking, that's never going to happen.
To the dismay of her family, Wendy's world was becoming that of her partner's, falling in
with his lifestyle of idle drinking and pulling her away from the people and things she loved the most.
I had the impression that she'd been fed up with all the drinking, because she wasn't a big drinker and
the fact of him coming home all the time with drink.
She would take one, where he would finish the box.
And she actually said to me, "Sharon, no." She said, "I just don't want to drink anymore."
Before he came along, she could go out where
she wanted, she could do what she wanted, she could see who she wanted and stuff like that there.
But when he was there, she couldn't, she couldn't do any of that.
And I think after six months or so, or whatever it was, I think
it came to the stage that she'd realised that, "Right, he's starting to run my life.
"Nobody's done this before and I'm not liking it."
On the morning of the 21st November, Eileen McAteer gave her daughter and
Terry a lift into Limavady town centre for the last time.
It was the day of the England-Croatia match and Whiting
wanted to watch the game in the Crown Bar, known locally as Clark's.
The pair remained in the bar from approximately 3:00pm until around 9 o'clock that evening.
We have identified a number of witnesses who were in the bar that day.
They describe Wendy and Terry "in good form".
They observed them playing pool.
There was no arguments, they were sitting having a quiet drink together and everything was normal.
During the time in the bar on Irish Green Street, the family actually
had contact with them while they were inside.
Eileen, Wendy's mum, makes a phone call at approximately 8:30pm to Wendy
while she's inside the bar
and Wendy answers the phone.
-She didn't seem herself,
but she still didn't let on.
She just kept saying she was OK, she was OK.
I said, "Are you fighting?"
And she replied, "No."
But still, it was in a funny tone of voice.
I didn't think very much more about it till later on, and then...
I went to bed and I wasn't long in bed
till he appeared.
Ran down the hall,
was down a few minutes and came back up again.
Stopped at my room door and I asked
why he was here
and where was Wendy?
He said she was still in the pub, which I knew for a fact was wrong,
because Wendy wouldn't sit in a pub herself. I asked, were they fighting?
No, Ma, there's nothing wrong.
I asked what he was home for. He said he was changing his clothes.
Well, then, the sweat broke on me and I asked why.
They were all sweaty.
And he left...
saying that he was going to return to Wendy.
Yeah, I will do.
As Whiting leaves the home, Wendy's father, Colm, is entering the house and he
describes how Whiting is leaving the house in a rage, and actually describes his exit "like a bull".
Convinced that Wendy would never remain in a pub by herself,
Eileen McAteer telephoned the Crown Bar to check Whiting's story.
The barman told her that he had seen the pair leaving together an hour and a half previously.
I thought, has he done something to my wee 'un?
why would you be sweating just playing pool in a bar?
And I got up and I got on my clothes...
and her father says to me,
"He's in a terrible hurry.
"God bless, I hope he hasn't done our wee 'un in."
And it was at this stage that Eileen and Wendy's uncle, Francie,
get in the car and make the decision to drive down the town
to try and establish where Wendy indeed is.
I was on the phone to him a few times.
He kept saying, "She wasn't in the bar when I got there."
He was going to a different bar to see if she was there.
And then he said he was at the taxi office.
-And then I phoned him back again.
-I've just found her, Ma.
Between the two schools.
What do you mean, you've found her?!
-I've just found her.
-Terry, is she all right?
-Somebody's hit her.
Jesus, Terry, is she alive?!
I don't know, Ma.
The phone cut off and I rang him back.
And from that, I never got an answer.
Francie, on hearing this news from Eileen, immediately makes a call to Wendy's brother, Paul,
to tell him to get down to the Blackburn Path to see what's going on.
At this stage, Wendy's father, Colm, also makes a call to Whiting and Whiting answers the phone.
I've just found Wendy, and there's blood coming out of her nose on the Blackburn Path.
Colm asks Whiting, "Have you beat her to death?"
And at this point, Whiting hangs up on the phone call.
All efforts after this fail to make contact with Whiting by the family.
Paul McAteer arrived at the Blackburn Path at around 10:40pm and made the tragic discovery.
Meanwhile, Wendy's uncle, Francie, was alerting local police.
It was Wednesday 21st November 2007 and it was about 10:45pm at night.
I was pulling into Limavady police station to finish my shift and a man ran up to the gates.
He appeared to be in a lot of distress and shouted, "Help, help,
"there's a girl half-dead in the path."
I now know that to be Wendy's uncle Francie.
Inspector Burrows and two other officers
immediately followed Francie to the location of his niece.
We arrived at Blackburn Path.
I was speaking to the uncle and the brother of Wendy.
They pointed out where Wendy was. I sent the two police officers down to that path,
in order to try and locate Wendy and see if they could help her.
When they got there they were met by Wendy's cousin.
And they relayed to me that, in fact,
Wendy was very badly injured and they feared that she was dead.
By this stage, the ambulance had arrived.
The paramedics were working on Wendy to try and resuscitate her at Blackburn Path.
And just after this, I was given the information that
those attempts weren't successful and that Wendy had in fact died.
I feared that Wendy had actually been murdered.
And immediately declared that that path was a crime scene.
I also had a family who were present at the edge of that crime scene, which is quite unusual.
I had to bear in mind that this was a family, to them this was a tragedy.
But they were also the source of a great deal of information.
So before I passed that death message to the father, I then spoke to Paul McAteer, Wendy's brother.
He was very upset. I asked who Wendy was last seen with.
He says it was her boyfriend, Terence Whiting.
At this moment, for the first time, we had the name of our suspect.
And I need to ask
for a description...of Terry Whiting.
He's about five foot nine.
Wendy's father was able to give us a really good description of Terry.
I was able then to circulate that description to other police officers
and start sending police officers out into the streets to try to locate
and identify our suspect, Terry Whiting.
I gleaned from Wendy's father that he didn't have access to a car.
But that he regularly used local taxis.
So I asked the control room to ring every taxi company in Limavady.
And tell them that if a male with an English accent called Terry requested a taxi, that they had to ring us.
Within moments, we got a phone call from one of those local taxi companies.
They told us that they had indeed picked up a male with an English accent...
called Terry. And they had taken him to the Drummond Hotel in Ballykelly,
where he'd been refused entry. And that he was now waiting at the Blue Shop in Ballykelly.
Just a few miles from the crime scene.
He had requested a taxi to Eglinton Airport.
Move in to arrest at Blue Shop, Ballykelly.
I repeat, Blue Shop, Ballykelly.
Inspector Burrows immediately deployed officers to Ballykelly.
One of the cars was unmarked and both vehicles proceeded to the Blue Shop without lights or sirens,
so as not to alert Whiting.
As the two cars pulled up, we saw this figure come out of the shadows.
He came down a couple of steps out onto the street lighting.
We immediately approached him.
He confirmed that he was Terry Whiting.
At that stage he was then arrested and I conducted the search after the arrest on Mr Whiting.
On doing so, I found a number of items on him.
Constable McGarry discovered that Whiting had been carrying
money bags on his person, containing over £100 in coins.
He was also carrying his girlfriend's gym card and two mobile phones.
He was asked to account for the two pink mobile phones
that were found on him.
One's my fiancee's and the other one's mine.
-Why your fiancee's...?
-Until she gets another one for Christmas.
Were you just keeping it for her?
Throughout this there was no emotion from him whatsoever.
Which you probably would have expected, given the seriousness of the offence.
Whiting, who seemed to be en route to the airport, was also found to be in possession of his passport.
He was placed in the rear of the police vehicle
and he was taken to Limavady custody suite.
When I was informed that the two rings belonging to Wendy had been
found on Whiting, that then starts to put together a picture for me.
Did Wendy take her rings off often?
Would they have been taken off her forcibly?
All different theories which I would need to examine and explore.
Now in custody, Whiting was assessed and deemed unfit for interview due to excessive alcohol consumption.
But police had strong suspicions of his involvement in the murder
and were working against the clock to try to prove it.
The golden hour isn't necessarily 60 minutes but it is as soon as I can get as much information in
which is vital to me in carrying out my investigation.
I am here with the key aim of finding out who carried out this awful deed upon a young girl.
At this stage, the forensic team was tasked with assessing the nature of the attack on the Blackburn Path.
As I proceeded up the path, I was able to see a scene tent
which had been placed over the body of a young woman.
It was obvious that the body had suffered severe facial injuries.
Her face was very badly swollen and bloodied.
There was also blood coming from both her mouth and her nose.
There were pools of blood close to the head and then on the right hand
side, on the metal slatted fence, there was diluted blood spots.
These extended over about three metres and up to a height of about 1.3 metres.
Further on up the path, on the left-hand side, there was a metal telegraph pole
which also had some blood spots on it.
This was quite remote from the position in which the body was found.
And what this would indicate to me was that this was another seat of attack.
Further on, up the path, there was a white top found.
It was apparent at the scene that there was blood staining on the arms and sleeves of this white top.
The nature of the distribution around the victim
would indicate to me that whoever carried out this attack was likely to be very heavily bloodstained.
Both with projected spots of blood and with heavy contact blood staining.
Crime scene investigators were also sent to examine Whiting's
bedroom at the McAteer's home in Robertson Crescent.
During the examination I searched underneath the double bed present in the room and found a pair
of Nike trainers, a pair of blue jeans and a pair of white socks.
The items of clothing were photographed in situ and,
following the photographs being taken,
we carried out a visual examination and noted quite a substantial amount
of unknown red staining on the Nike trainers and the blue jeans.
There was also suspected mud staining present on the blue jeans.
Meanwhile, the investigating officers were beginning to
piece together Whiting's movements on the night of the 21st November.
We found out that Wendy and Terence left the bar at approximately 9.50pm.
They both walk along Irish Green Street and turn into Connell Street.
Between the houses on Connell Street,
they are observed by a group of young teenagers.
One of those persons actually identified Wendy
from growing up together.
They describe an argument taking place between Wendy and Terry Whiting.
They describe Terry Whiting verbally abusing Wendy and being really in her face.
We then have a lady who is parking her car.
She actually sees Terence Whiting pushing Wendy McAteer
up against the side of a building.
We actually do capture them on CCTV footage where Whiting is pushing
Wendy up against a wall quite violently.
Then we have another gentleman who is driving along and he sees them further along the street, again with
Whiting arguing with Wendy and in fact grabbing her arm.
As they walked further up Irish Green Street, a number of other witnesses
identify a couple, a male and female, involved in an argument.
This was only a short distance from the Blackburn Path, the scene of the murder.
Then, at about 2117 hours, the two of them were again seen at the end of the Blackburn Path, and
again involved in an argument with Terence Whiting waving his finger into the face of Wendy McAteer.
That is the last sighting we have of the two of them.
The investigating team received confirmation that the suspect was fit for interview.
During questioning, Whiting described his movements on the afternoon off 21st November
clearly and concisely, but was more guarded about the events of that evening.
'Whenever we put our crucial evidence to him, such as being seen at the end of the Blackburn Path,'
his last recollection of the event is where he pushed her,
she fell to the ground, and he remembers nothing else about it.
I don't remember.
When photographs of the bloodstained clothing were shown to Whiting,
he wouldn't accept that this blood was as a result
of a violent attack by him on Wendy.
He just would not answer the questions for us.
As the interview process continued, we were receiving results back from the forensic lab at Seapark
and that was confirming to us that the red substance on Whiting's training shoes,
socks and jeans was indeed blood and that it belonged to Wendy McAteer.
We used that information and put it to Terence Whiting in interview and he could not account for it.
Police would never know the full story of what happened on the Blackburn Path
But the post mortem results revealed the extent of the brutality
that Wendy McAteer had endured that night.
Bruising on the back of scalp,
consistent with having struck her head on a hard surface.
Perhaps she has fallen or been pushed backwards.
Injuries consistent with a number of blows to the head,
as a result of her having been kicked and/or punched.
Some certainly sustained while lying on the ground.
Abrasions to the left side of the neck.
Compression of the neck to this degree
leads to a loss of consciousness.
Detailed examination of the brain
indicates that she had survived for at least 30 minutes.
Although she would almost certainly
have been unconscious during this period.
During the interviews, it was clear that we had the right man.
However, Whiting declined to take the opportunity
to tell us what actually happened on the Blackburn Path.
At no point during the whole interview process, over the two-day period, did Whiting
give the McAteer family any closure or any answers to the questions that they needed answered.
In a bid to uncover why Terry Whiting had unleashed such
extreme violence on Wendy McAteer, Geoff Ferris was sent to England to explore the killer's background.
Upon speaking to several women that Whiting had been involved with, it became clear that he had a long
and sustained history of violence towards women.
We discovered that he was verbally and physically abusive
to these women in England.
To such a degree that they were terrified of him.
He, on one occasion, tried to strangle one of the females
by putting his hands around her neck.
Eventually, she was able to break it off and Whiting left.
It wasn't that long after this relationship that Whiting came to Northern Ireland.
This was in December 2006.
This was the time that he commenced his contact with Wendy McAteer.
'31 year-old Terence Whiting was today described as a man who showed no true remorse for a terrible deed.
'He strangled his 17-year-old fiancee, Wendy McAteer, and beat her
'so badly she sustained serious head injuries in November 2007.
'The prosecution said that he had effectively left
'Wendy McAteer to die in an alleyway
'after inflicting multiple injuries.
'A defence lawyer told the court that Whiting, who had a lot to drink
'on the day, had great difficulty in dealing with the fact his fiancee
'wanted to end the relationship.
'Whiting, who had previous convictions
'for slapping and head-butting a former girlfriend,
was sentenced to 14 years for the murder.
'The police said the McAteer family, who were
'too distressed to speak to the media,
'were devastated at the death.'
The sentencing came and we were praying
he was going to get over 18 years.
Then he turned around and he said "14".
It was so devastating that all her life was worth was 14 years for him.
She had all that hope for the future.
A young girl, a lovely girl from a lovely family, and that
family has been left with a hole that will never be filled.
Even by speaking to them you can see the angst, the anguish that they are
feeling and no matter how long Terence Whiting gets in jail, it will never bring back
Wendy McAteer, or help to ease the pain which they have in their family.
We're just trying to get back to normal, which it will never be.
It will never be normal.
But we just have to get used to it, she's not coming back.
A good child.
She was always a good child.
When Wendy went, she should have took me with her.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Crime documentary series examining successfully solved murder cases from Northern Ireland, featuring dramatic reconstruction, expert witnesses and archive footage. The victims' relatives speak about the pain of their loss and the devastating impact it has had on their lives.