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Tragic deaths of young parents recalled 14.10.08

Inishowen coroner thanks NI emergency personnel

A CORONER has thanked the Northern Ireland emergency services for responding to the many horrific crashes across the border in Inishowen in recent years.
Dr John Madden said he wanted to place on record the county's gratitude to the NI ambulance service and fire service for their consistently prompt responses to crashes in areas such as Burnfoot and Muff. Dr Madden made his comments during an inquest into the death of 20-year old Anthony Doherty, Earhart Park, Derry, who was killed instantly when his red Rover car crashed into a tree at Craig, Muff, in the early hours of a bitterly-cold March 18, 2007.
The front-seat passenger, 19-year old Roisin Doherty, from Cornshell Fields, Shantallow, Derry, died a short time later in hospital. The young couple, while recently estranged, were the parents of a two-year old daughter, the inquest heard.
The probe into Mr Doherty's death heard from a number of witnesses including his mother Catherine, and James McDaid, a driver with Thornhill Taxis, who was the first to arrive at the tragic scene.
He was driving a passenger home at a speed of just 30mph due to heavy sleet and hail, when he came across the Rover crashed into a tree up on a ditch.
Flowers left at the scene of the Muff accident in March 2007. Mr McDaid said he stopped his taxi, put on the hazard lights and phoned 999. He spotted a young woman lying on the grass verge on the opposite side of the road. He spoke to her and she managed to tell him her name and address. Another person who had just arrived on the scene told him the driver was dead.
NI ambulance officer Gerard
Stewart testified that Mr Doherty was trapped in the car with his head at "an abnormal angle to his body". His body was later removed from the car by NI fire service personnel. Ms Doherty, he told the inquest was "conscious and talking".
Muff Garda Pat Keaveney testified that the front of the car was embedded in the tree with the rear wheels three-feet in the air. Garda Keaveney said the two airbags had activated but it appeared that the passenger seat-belt had not in use at the moment of impact. He said "weather conditions were a contributory factor" to the accident.
In her deposition, Anthony Doherty's mother Catherine Doherty, outlined how she was informed of the fatal accident at her Earhart Park home and later had to formally identify her son's body at Letterkenny General Hospital.
The jury at the coroner's court in Carndonagh on Friday returned a verdict of death due to an accident. Dr Madden offered his sympathies to Catherine Doherty, saying no young woman should have to suffer the pain of identifying her child's body. Dr Madden also put it on public record his sincere gratitude to the NI emergency services.
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