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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 18:58 GMT
Sister's tears for murdered Marsha
Nathalie and Shane McDonnell
Nathalie McDonnell described her sister as a "free spirit"
The sister of murdered gap student Marsha McDonnell has said the week since her death has been "one massive nightmare".

Nathalie McDonnell, 21, made the latest of a series of appeals to help solve the murder which has baffled detectives.

Miss McDonnell, 19, died after being clubbed three times over the head, as she returned home from a night at the cinema with friends in south-west London.

Nathalie said she still woke up wondering whether it had really happened, adding her five-year-old brother Jack has not been able to take it all in.

She always thought of other people - she was a free spirit

Nathalie McDonnell

"He doesn't really understand. Every time the door goes he goes to the door because he thinks it's going to be Marsha," she said.

"It really is just one massive nightmare, every time there's something that reminds you of her, the things she used to do and places she used to go, people she used to hang out with, every little thing."

She praised her sister's generosity, adding: "She always thought of other people. She was a free spirit."

Miss McDonnell's uncle, Shane McDonnell, joined Nathalie at the appeal and said the family had been heartened by flowers and cards received from the public.

Marsha McDonnell
Marsha was murdered just yards from home

The gap year student lived with her two sisters, brother and parents in the family home in Hampton, south-west London.

She was attacked while walking the last stretch of her journey home after taking the bus from Kingston just after midnight on 4 February.

But there appears to be no motive as she was not sexually assaulted nor was anything stolen.

Detectives are trying to trace two potential witnesses who were on another bus -the R70 from Kingston to Richmond.

A woman got off the bus just after midnight near the cemetery in Broad Lane and a man carrying a white carrier bag was seen on CCTV footage walking towards Priory Road 10 minutes before Marsha died.

Police believe the two might be important witnesses in the minutes before the murder.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC London's Guy Smith
"Her eldest sister described Marsha as a free spirit with a big heart."

Click here to go to BBC London Online
See also:

10 Feb 03 | England
08 Feb 03 | England
07 Feb 03 | England
07 Feb 03 | England
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