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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 07:52 GMT
Family 'devastated' by murder
Marsha McDonnell
Marsha McDonnell was waiting to go to university
The father of a 19-year-old student who was murdered after being beaten around the head has spoken of the family's devastation at losing her.

Marsha Louise McDonnell, 19, who lived with her parents' in Priory Road, Hampton, south-west London, was just yards from her home when she was found on Tuesday.

A postmortem examination on Thursday found she died of head injuries caused by a blunt instrument.

She had been on her way home from a night out in nearby Kingston when she was found just after midnight in the quiet residential road.

As I drove past the police cordon I could see the whole pavement covered with this huge pool of blood

Father Phil McDonnell

A neighbour was woken by a loud noise outside and found Miss McDonnell still conscious but suffering from her injuries.

She was taken to hospital and was surrounded by her parents and two sisters - Natalie, 21, and Maya, 14 - before her life support machine was turned off on Wednesday.

The teenager's father, Phil, said her little brother, five-year-old Jack, was going to be devastated when they told him of his sister's death.

Mr McDonnell, a former tour manager for Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac and Clannad, told the Evening Standard: "As I drove past the police cordon I could see the whole pavement covered with this huge pool of blood.

Forgotten keys

"I was looking at this in horror and I wound the window down and asked the policeman if it was from my daughter.

"He said, `I am afraid so'."

Marsha's German-born mother Ute had been waiting for her to get home and thought it was her when the doorbell rang.

"I thought it was Marsha and assumed she had left her keys again but it was a policeman at the door - my stomach just went," she said.

Mr McDonnell said they will never recover from the pain of losing their daughter.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We now know she took a 111 bus from the centre of Kingston, getting off in Percy Road.

"She is thought to have walked from Percy Road to Priory Road, where she was found."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook
"This was a vicious, violent attack"
The BBC's Lesley Ashmall reports from Hampton
"People here are really torn apart by this"

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06 Feb 03 | England
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