Northern Ireland news

Inquest date set for US honeymooner Michael Monroe killed in crash near Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges
David Young, PA

An inquest for a US honeymooner killed in a car crash near a popular tourist destination in Northern Ireland is to be held in the summer, a court has heard.

Michael Monroe, from Orange, Connecticut, suffered fatal injuries in the September 2018 collision close to the Dark Hedges – a tree-lined avenue in north Antrim made famous by its appearance in TV’s Game Of Thrones.

The 31-year-old teacher’s wife, Caroline, was injured in the crash, which happened at the junction of Gracehill Road and Bregagh Road in Ballymoney.

The couple were honeymooning on the island of Ireland a year after their wedding.

At a preliminary hearing in Belfast, coroner Louisa Fee said the daily start time of the inquest in June would take account of the fact that Mrs Monroe would be participating virtually from the United States.

The inquest is set to run for three days between June 27 and June 29.

Addressing Mrs Monroe, who attended today’s preliminary hearing virtually, the coroner said: “I appreciate that you will in all likelihood be attending remotely. We will try to factor in the time difference insofar as possible, so that it’s not unreasonable for you to be in attendance.”

Mrs Monroe thanked the coroner for that indication.

The short hearing was also told that Stormont’s Department of Infrastructure will prepare a report for the inquest on the safety measures at the junction where the crash happened, and the history and background of the intersection.

Police photos, sketches and video footage will also be produced as evidence, as will CCTV footage collected during the investigation.

The driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision did not attend today’s pre-inquest hearing.

In the aftermath of the crash, a statement on behalf of the couple’s families described Mr Monroe as a “kind and loving man”.

The next preliminary inquest hearing is scheduled for April 14.

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