News Walthamstow

Vigil held for Waltham Forest woman murdered by boyfriend

Last night’s vigil at CRATE on St James Street marked a year from the day that Ailish Walsh was brutally killed

By Marco Marcelline

A table at the vigil dedicated to Ailish Walsh, Ailish (inset), Credit: Met Police

A vigil was held at St James Street last night for a pregnant mother-of-four who was murdered by her boyfriend. 

Around 50 people turned up to mark a year since the passing of Ailish Walsh, who had spent some of her childhood in Waltham Forest before moving back to her country of birth, Ireland. She briefly returned to live in the borough in 2021.

As Hackney Gazette reported, Ailish was stabbed with a pair of scissors more than 40 times at her flat in Rectory Road, Hackney, on 15th December 2022. She was 28 years old.

Her boyfriend Liam Taylor, 37, of Hornsey, was jailed for life in August after pleading guilty to what judge Nigel Lickley KC called a “ferocious, brutal, sadistic and savage” attack. He will spend a minimum of 27 years behind bars. 

Friend and vigil organiser Sabrina Shelley told the Echo that Ailish had been a “rock”. Through tears, she said: “She was a good friend, she became a rock to me. She took my son on days out and was full of love. There isn’t anyone who had a bad thing to say about her. She was an outstanding woman.”

Sabrina Shelley (above) organised the vigil for Ailish

The vigil took place at CRATE St James Street on Friday at 6pm. Attendees decorated a Christmas tree with purple ribbons, baubles and feathers to raise awareness and honour those who have been killed due to domestic violence. Purple ribbons are used to mark violence against women.

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In an emotional speech Sabrina thanked guests for attending and said: “Today’s been truly special and I can’t thank you enough for making it so special.”

People hung purple baubles on a Christmas tree to raise awareness of domestic violence

The vigil included a raffle featuring prizes donated by local shopkeepers from businesses including JK Beauty, DejaVu, St James’s Kitchen, Scarred for Life, Walthamstow Trades Hall, and Savers. The prizes included food hampers, tattoos, and a free Trades Hall membership.

Ayse Hussein, a friend of Sabrina and a domestic violence campaigner, said she was especially moved to attend because she had lost her cousin to a brutal domestic murder in Canning Town, Newham in 2019. During the vigil, Ayse and Luz Turner, a police officer who works with victims of domestic violence, paid their respects to Ailish by holding up a purple bauble and a photo of her.

Luz Turner (left) and Ayse Hussein (right) hold a photo of Ailish

A table with a book of condolences, a small Christmas tree, and photographs of Alish and Sabrina, also featured an ultrasound picture of Ailish’s unborn daughter. 

£600 was raised from the vigil. It will go towards charities helping women with experience of domestic abuse. 

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