Northern Ireland

Shannon McQuillan inquest: Teenager’s death a ‘tragic accident’ coroner rules

Tragic teenager died in 2018

Shannon McQuillan and her boyfriend Owen McFerran
Shannon McQuillan died in 2018

A coroner has found the death of a teenager knocked down and killed after she left an ambulance on a country road was a “tragic accident”.

Shannon McQuilan (19), from Dunloy in Co Antrim, died after she was struck by a van on the Moneynick Road, near Toome, in January 2018, a short time after leaving the back of an ambulance which was taking her to hospital following a fall near a nightclub in Magherafelt, Co Derry

Her boyfriend Owen McFerran (21), from Ballymoney, was left fighting for his life after the accident in the early hours of the morning on the old main Derry to Belfast road.

Coroner Joe McCrisken heard evidence from PSNI officers, Ambulance Service staff and medical experts, over several days earlier this month.

Solicitor Barry O’Donnell with Charlene McQuillan sister of Shannon McQuillan after an inquest at Laganside in Belfast. 
Solicitor Barry O’Donnell with Charlene McQuillan, sister of Shannon McQuillan outside Laganside court complex in Belfast. PICTURE COLM LENAGHAN

During Friday’s hearing Mr McCrisken said he was “completely satisfied” that Ms McQuillan and Mr McFerran wanted to leave the ambulance and did so “of their own free will”.

“They were not removed by any police officer,” he added.

During the inquest it emerged that two off-duty officers failed to stop and instead called 999 after they saw Ms McQuillan in the middle of the road after she had left the ambulance.

Mr McCrisken said he had “absolutely no issue with the actions of both of these officers which were reasonable and sensible in all the circumstances”.

In his ruling the corner referred to Ms McQuillan’s mental health background, previous incidents of self-harm and a report of attempted suicide.

“I am not reaching a finding of suicide, her death will be recorded as a tragic accident, which also caused life changing injuries to Mr McFerran,” Mr McCrisken added.

Solicitor Barry O’Donnell, of KRW LAW, said he will be advising the McQuillan family on the findings.