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Monday 15 September 2014

Tragic Lucy left notes for family before taking own life, inquest told

Conor Kane

Published 26/08/2014 | 02:30

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Mourners attending the funeral mass of Lucy Anne Stack, inset, at St Ultans Church Rathcore, Enfield, Co Meath
James Fozzy Stack pictured at the inquest into the death of his wife Lucy Stack at Clonmel Court. Photo: Dylan Vaughan.

HORSE breeder Lucy Stack had left notes addressed to her family on a table in the home where her body was discovered, an inquest heard.

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Her husband, trainer James 'Fozzy' Stack, had asked his friend to go and check on Ms Stack as he had become anxious after he was unable to make contact with her.

The body of the 27-year-old was found upstairs in her bedroom at her home in Rosegreen, Cashel, Co Tipperary, on February 2 last.

After hearing the evidence, coroner for Tipperary South Paul Morris ruled at her inquest in Clonmel that the evidence was consistent with suicide.

Garda Mark Rabitte told how there was no indication of foul play at the house, and he discovered notes on a table which were addressed to family members and outlined the details of her own funeral arrangements.

Sergeant Karl O'Leary 
explained a note "gave instructions on what the person who found the body was to do".

Poignantly, at her funeral a heartbreaking last letter from Lucy was read out that 
assured her friends that "no call could have changed this, no chats over wine", and signed off "Friends forever, Lucy". The funeral heard she had suffered silently from a young age.

Along with her husband James, a son of former top jockey Tommy Stack, the one-time rider of Grand National-winning Red Rum, the pair were often referred to as 'Racing's Golden Couple' as they cut a dash at race tracks throughout the country.

At her inquest yesterday, family chose not to listen to the painful evidence as they stood outside the courtroom.

Lucy was originally from Enfield, Co Meath, and her late father, David Foster, was well-known in equestrian circles but died in 1998 after a horse fell on him. Her mother is trainer Denise 'Sneezy' Foster.

The family's solicitor, Una Power, thanked the coroner and the gardai for their handling of the case. "It has been very hard on both families," she said, after the coroner and Supt William Leahy read out the depositions.

In his deposition, Robert Lanigan said he was best friends with James.

He was aware James and Lucy had been "having some difficulties" in the last few months before her death.

"Lucy had not been feeling herself for a while," he said. She had gone up to her parents' home in Co Meath some time beforehand, before returning.

Evidence

James left for South Africa on business on January 29 last and was due to fly back to Ireland on February 3. On Sunday, February 2, Mr Lanigan was at his own house when James called him and asked him to check on Lucy as he had texted her during the day and she hadn't replied.

He drove over to the Stacks' house and had a look around downstairs, calling her name a few times as he did so and getting no reply.

There was a light on upstairs and he went up and knocked on her bedroom door.

"When I was getting no reply, I knew this was going to be bad," Mr Lanigan said.

He discovered her dead body in a bedroom.

Last rites were administered by Fr Christy O'Dwyer, the parish priest of Cashel, and her body was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital.

Pathologist Dr Fergus McSweeney said in his statement that there was no evidence of drugs while blood and urine alcohol levels were not in the toxic range. Coroner Mr Morris said the evidence was "consistent with suicide".

Irish Independent

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