Thursday 29 September 2016

'Devastated doesn't even come close' - Tragic teen's family gather together in support following death of 'beautiful, intelligent daughter'

Lesley-ann McCarragher (19) was fatally injured in a road incident while out jogging

Allan Preston

Published 11/04/2016 | 08:04

Just hours after the death of Lesley-ann McCarragher - described as a "beautiful, intelligent daughter" with a smile for everyone - the teenager's devastated family and friends gathered at her home to support one another.

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The 19-year-old was fatally injured in a road incident while out jogging close to her family house on the Monaghan Road near Milford at around 12.30pm on Saturday.

She was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital, but died from her injuries yesterday morning.

A 17-year-old boy was arrested shortly after and was in police custody last night.

In the small townland of Aghavilly in Co Armagh, many of those who arrived at the country house sat in tears finding it difficult to talk.

Her parents Elizabeth and James were too upset to speak but had left a tribute note along with flowers at the spot she died.

Lesley Ann Credit: Belfast Telegraph
Lesley Ann Credit: Belfast Telegraph

It read: "Mummy and daddy will always love you, our darling beautiful, intelligent daughter.

"Always bubbly, a smile for everyone with those beautiful brown eyes. Loved, cherished and will never be forgotten. Mummy and Daddy".

Another note from her sisters Judith (21) and younger twin sisters Amy and Beth (15) read: "Our beautiful sister Lesley-ann we love you so much and will never forget you. We will talk about you every day. Forever in our hearts. Judith, Amy and Beth."

Lesley-ann's aunt and uncle, Ann Frazer (50) and John Murray (46), spoke of their shock at the news.

"They're a beautiful, loving and very close family and this has been an awful wrench," said Mr Murray.

"The McCarragher family are a very long established family in the Aghavilly area and they're very highly respected by everybody who knows them."

Ann said that "devastated doesn't even come close" when describing how the family were coping. She added that she would remember Lesley-ann for "her happy sparkly brown eyes and her laugh. She was a joy to her family."

John shared a short tribute from the family celebrating Lesley-ann's life.

"She's been described as a friend to all - and all who met her just loved her. She was recognisable by her distinct smile and her laugh and her beautiful brown eyes," he read.

Lesley-ann had attended Aghavilly Primary school before going to Armagh High School were she was appointed head girl and enjoyed playing hockey.

After her GCSE exams she completed her A-levels at the Royal School Armagh.

That led her to a food technology course at Loughry College in Dungannon where she had just completed her first year.

A talented pupil, she was awarded a scholarship from local firm Dunbia, recognising her as the top student in her class.

Mr Murray added: "When she was there she took up playing soccer and joined the Mid Ulster ladies team and I think would have been playing for them today had she been still with us."

As a mark of respect, her team-mates cancelled the game she would have been taking part in yesterday.

They added that "although Lesley-ann was only with us a short time she has left a great impression and she will be missed by all".

Her aunt Ann praised her as "a hard wee worker" who fitted countless other interests into her life despite her studying commitments and a weekend job as a kitchen assistant.

In her local community she had been a long-standing member of Aghavilly Youth Club where she went on to earn her gold, silver and bronze Duke of Edinburgh awards.

She was also a member of the Booth Youth Fellowship and part of the First Armagh Presbyterian Church along with all her family.

"If she wasn't physically working, she was working in her books or keeping active," added Mr Murray. "She wasn't one for sitting around."

Police have appealed for information about a white Saab car seen in the area at the time of the collision.

Belfast Telegraph

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