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Sunday 21 January 2018

Train death teen trapped at rail 'begged for his life'

Michael McHugh

A teenager pleaded desperately for help as he lay trapped in front of an oncoming train, an inquest heard yesterday.

Ryan Quinn (14) got his hand lodged in a cattle grid in Portrush, Co Antrim, in January 2009. Moments before his death, he made a frantic call to his father, Ivan, claiming he was attacked in nearby McLaughlin's bar and chased.

He said: "Daddy, you are going to have to come quickly. I cannot get out, my knuckle is stuck."

He was hit by the last train from Coleraine to Portrush and suffered fatal injuries.

A statement from his father at Coleraine Coroner's Court said: "He was starting to get hysterical . . . he was begging me, he was screaming down the phone."

The Public Prosecution has told the dead boy's family there is insufficient evidence to bring a case against two suspects.

Police have been unable to prove how the St Joseph's College, Coleraine, pupil came to be lying on the line. His family is convinced he was murdered.

Mr Quinn, speaking from Maghaberry Prison via video link, added: "My son was not just my son, he was my best friend and I knew him probably better than anybody."

Train driver Ian Cairns said he believed he saw somebody running away from the line just before the collision.

"I suddenly had a flashback, it was so vivid it gave me goosebumps," he said.

"I am convinced there was someone else on the track prior to the train hitting Ryan Quinn."

His first statement to police made no reference to seeing anybody else.

Mr Cairns recalled the body on the track.

"I saw a person appear to be holding themselves up with their arm, the lights of the train illuminated the face and you then saw the left arm raised."

Coroner John Leckey called it "a real nightmare situation".


Ryan was three times over the legal limit when he died and had been at McLaughlin's bar celebrating his half brother Dean Quinn's 18th birthday.

The teenager, from Slemish Place, Coleraine, suffered multiple injuries including spinal fractures and severed limbs.

The victim's mother, Lisa Kinnaird, said she thought her son was having a meal and celebrating the birthday with his father.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison said some witnesses in the bar had not come forward and appealed for anybody with information to contact them.

"We are aware that there was an incident in McLaughlin's pub a short time before Ryan found himself on the railway," he said, "Ryan did not go on to the track for a walk.

"We are aware that Ryan was subjected to a minor assault."

Irish Independent

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