Family protest over picture of deceased mum in horror film

By Tim Healy

THE family of an Irish woman tragically found dead after going missing say her image has been used in a Hollywood horror film without their consent.

The family are seeking to bring a High Court action to prevent the use of the image of the late Stacia Purcell (66) from New Ross in Co Wexford who went missing on October 30 of last year.

Following a search involving the gardai, her body was discovered some days later in the River Barrow. It is thought she fell into the river after suffering a heart attack.

Yesterday, the court heard a picture of Ms Purcell, which was provided by her family and issued to the press to assist in the search, features in a horror film called Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan heard that the use of image has caused the family great pain, distress, and suffering. Their upset has been added to as they found out that the image was used in the film in the week leading up to the first anniversary of her tragic loss.

In proceedings against 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, WT6 Productions and UFO Film and Television Studios Ltd (Bulgaria) and UFO International Productions (Los Angeles), Ms Purcell's children Anna Kehoe, Patrick Purcell, Catherine Doran and son-in-law Sean Doran, seek a number of orders preventing the use of her image in the film.

Mr Justice Gilligan, who accepted that the matter is serious, said he was not prepared at to grant the family a temporary injunction when only one side was represented in court.

The judge said he was prepared to grant the family permission to serve the proceedings at short notice against the respondents. The case comes back to court next Wednesday.

The film has been broadcast on Sky Television and on DVD, their counsel Richard Kean said.

The image appears 22 minutes into the film, and is shown to be a missing 81-year-old man, counsel said. The image has been used in a "grotesque, graphically violent film", he added. The court heard that the franchise has grossed more than $40m at the box office.