Swindon Advertiser, 2015

Domestic abuse centre opened in Norbury in memory of Cassandra McDermott who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.


Cassandra McDermott’s mother Jennifer talks to Croydon North MP Steve Reed at the launch of the Cassandra Learning Centre.

A charity set up in memory of a teenager killed by her ex- boyfriend has opened a centre in the town where she was killed.

The Cassandra Centre (CC), (formerly known as Cassandra Learning Centre) was opened in London Road, Norbury, 13 years after Cassandra McDermott, 19, was attacked at her mother’s house by Mario Celaire on October 25, 2001.

Celaire was found not guilty of her murder following a trial in 2002 but after new evidence came to light, he was the first person to be retried after the Double Jeopardy rules were abolished.

He pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Cassandra at the Old Bailey on May 22, 2009.

Since Cassandra’s death the family has dedicated themselves to helping victims of domestic abuse, and CC worked with 200 people last year.

Cassandra Centre Chief Executive, Jennifer McDermott said: “Our family suffered a tragedy and, through our work at CC, I want to show that this will ultimately benefit others. We will work to provide support to those in difficulty and teach young people the value of independence. I can think of no better way to honour my daughter’s memory.”

The centre aims to teach 13 to 25-year-olds life skills, and to build the strength needed to walk away from unhealthy relationships.

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