Northern Ireland

Foundation to be set up in memory of Noah Donohoe

Noah Donohoe with his mother Fiona.
Noah Donohoe with his mother Fiona. Noah Donohoe with his mother Fiona.

A PRELIMINARY hearing into the death of teenager Noah Donohoe has been told that a foundation is to be set up in his name "to inspire other young people".

The 14-year-old St Malachy's College pupil went missing on June 21. Following extensive searches his body was discovered six days later in a storm drain in north Belfast.

A post-mortem examination found he died as a result of drowning.

He had cycled to the area from his home in south Belfast and, shortly before he went missing, was seen with no clothes on.

Prior to that he was seen falling off his bike in Shore Road.

His disappearance prompted a major search operation, with hundreds of people from across Belfast involved.

During a third pre-inquest review hearing, coroner Joe McCrisken was told that the police investigation into the case was almost complete.

However, the court was also told that police are investigating additional health and safety issues that may arise during the inquest.

Barrister Declan Quinn said that as a result of the development the Department for Infrastructure should be formally added to the list of interested persons represented at the inquest.

"In terms of disclosure the police file in respect of this matter is almost complete, we have received a number of hand written statements and materials, which will now be typed and processed," Mr Quinn said.

"However, there are also a number of evidential lines of inquiry which appear to arise from the material.

"In view of discussions with the next of kin representatives ... a number of other evidential lines of inquiry will be directed. That may take some time."

Mr Quinn also added that a "statement or statements from the next of kin", specifically Noah's mother Fiona Donohoe providing general background information "as well as more specific information regarding his behaviour in the weeks and days before his disappearance," would be submitted to the inquest.

Noah's mother Fiona and aunt Niamh attended the hearing at Belfast Laganside court yesterday.

The family's solicitor Niall Murphy of KRW Law said a statement from Noah's mother "is underway" saying it was the "most tragic and emotional statement that Ms Donohoe will ever attempt to compose".

"However, it has commenced and we collectively undertake to include that at the earliest convenience and I am obliged for the time and space to do that," Mr Murphy added.

The solicitor said he also intended to write to the coronor's office in relation to an issue arising from retention of water samples from the storm drain.

The coroner previously attended the site of the storm drain, as well as the site where Noah's body was found by specialist rescue teams.

Mr Murphy agreed that along with specialist officers, he would also attend the site where it believed teenager entered the drain.

At the conclusion of the case Mr Murphy read a statement on behalf of the family stating that a foundation was to be set up in Noah's name.

He said Ms Donohoe was "eternally grateful and touched by the support that she has received with regards to the awful circumstances she has had to confront" and said in light of that they intended to set up foundation, with details publicised at a later date.

"It is her intention to memorialise and keep in public memory the legacy of her beautiful son Noah.

"That foundation will be set up in the following weeks", he added.

Due to further investigation a date for full inquest in January 2021 was set aside and that will now be a review hearing to update the coroner on progress in the case, with a date yet to be set for a full inquest.