Wednesday 21 November 2018

Tragic death of teen (19) who was struck by van referred to Police Ombudsman

Shannon (19) had been en-route to hospital in an ambulance after falling on ice when the 'journey was terminated' on outskirts of Toome, it has emerged

Shannon McQuillan and boyfriend Owen McFerran
Shannon McQuillan and boyfriend Owen McFerran

The circumstances surrounding the death of a 19-year-old woman who was struck by a van in Toome have been referred to the Police Ombudsman.

Ulster University law and criminology student Shannon McQuillan (19), from Dunloy, died after she and her boyfriend Owen McFerran were struck by a van in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Mr McFerran remains in a serious condition in hospital.

The incident happened on the Moneynick Road outside Toomebridge at around 3.40am. It has since been referred to the Police Ombudsman.

Ahead of the incident the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said they had responded to a call that the woman had fallen on ice in Magherafelt and became unresponsive.

They began the journey to transport the patient to Antrim Area Hospital but it was later "terminated".

The statement said: "The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was alerted to a call in Magherafelt at 02:06 on 20 January 2018 following reports of a female having fallen on ice and being unresponsive.

"NIAS responded to the call and following treatment at the scene began the journey to transport the patient.

"The journey was terminated on the outskirts of Toome.

"NIAS is aware that the patient was subsequently killed following an RTC in the area.

"NIAS understands that the PSNI has notified the incident to the police ombudsman's office in line with their own procedures and as such it would be inappropriate to provide any further comment on the incident.

"NIAS will also undertake an internal review of the circumstances of this call.

"We are aware that a young life has been lost and that a family is grieving this loss. The Service would like to extend its sympathies to her family and friends on their tragic loss."

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman said: "We have been notified by police about a fatal road traffic collision in the early hours of Saturday morning. A 19-year-old woman died and a 21-year-old man was seriously injured when they were struck by a vehicle on the Moneynick Road near Toome.

"In line with standard procedure, police contacted the Police Ombudsman's Office as the man and woman had been in contact with police some time before the collision.

"Police Ombudsman investigators are now conducting preliminary enquiries into the nature of that contact.

"Our thoughts are with the families of those affected at this very difficult time."

A PSNI spokesman said: "PSNI has notified the Police Ombudsman, as is normal, established protocol. While PONI considers the information provided, it would be inappropriate to comment.

"Our thoughts at this time are with McQuillan family and all of those affected by this tragic incident."

Shannon's sister Charlene posted a tribute to her on Facebook, writing: “Fly high my beautiful sister. Love you.”

Mr McFerran’s cousin Katrina Cushenan posted: “We ask that you hold our cousin Owen McFerran in your prayers, who is currently in hospital putting up a good fight.

“We have faith in your strength that you will make it through. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to his girlfriend and her family during this difficult time.”

North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan who knew Shannon said: The family are determined that we get all the facts of what happened on the night and I fully support them in this endeavour."

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