Northern Ireland news

Derry cousins killed in double road fatality in England

Shauna Stokes (left) and Kelsey Marie Stokes died in the collision
Seamus McKinney

THE funerals will take place later today of two young Derry cousins who were killed in a road crash in England.

Shauna (17) and Kelsey Marie Stokes (3) died in a two-vehicle collision involving a van and a Peugeot 206 car in Co Durham on September 2.

Five other people, including Shauna’s twin sister Kelly and Kelsey Marie’s mother Michelle, were both injured.

Mrs Stokes remains in hospital while Kelly Stokes was able to return home on Friday.

It is understood both families are members of the Travellers community and had been attending a large family gathering in England when tragedy struck.

The accident happened on the A1086 Coast Road between Horden and Blackhall. Emergency services, including two helicopters from the Great North Air Ambulance attended the scene.

Sergeant Pete Tate, of the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations unit, said: “We would like to offer our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.

“We are working to establish the circumstances surrounding the collision and would like to speak to anyone who may have information that could help our investigation.”

In a brief message, a family member asked for prayers for others hurt in the accident.

He said: “RIP princesses, loved and missed very much. Please can everyone continue praying for Megan, Cheyenne (Kelsey Marie’s sister), Michelle (Kelsey Marie’s mum) and Kelly (Shauna’s twin sister).”

Fr Michael McCaughey of the Three Patrons parish said the wider Stokes family was stunned by news.

“Any death is tragic but for two young people to die like this is hard to take in. There’s a real sense of shock in our parish. We’re dealing with young lives at the moment as we’re having First Holy Communions which were delayed because of the Covid-19 crisis and now we’re dealing with this awful tragedy; the contrast couldn’t be greater.

“I know that the wider family and the parish faith community will come together in the days, weeks and months ahead to help the grieving parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters,” he said.

Covid-19 restrictions will be observed at Requiem Mass which takes place at St Joseph’s Church, Galliagh at 10am following which Shauna will be laid to rest at Derry City Cemetery while Kelsey Marie will be buried at Park, Co Derry.

The families are both from Galliagh although the funerals will take place from Shauna’s home at Derrymore in the Hazelbank area of the city where a double wake was held.

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