A WOMAN whose disappearance was the subject of a major media appeal had researched drowning hotspots shortly before her death, an inquest heard.
The body of Blathnaid Timothy has never been found, but Dublin coroner Dr Brian Farrell told her family that on the balance of probability she drowned in Howth, Co Dublin.
Ms Timothy (33), originally from Galway, was last heard of in her apartment on Camden Street in Dublin 2 by her flatmate Rosa Addate on the morning of her disappearance on December 14, 2010.
Ms Addate told gardai that she believed Ms Timothy was depressed and that her mood had worsened in the weeks before her death.
Her sister Aoife Murphy told the court that Ms Timothy suffered from back pain which pre-occupied her.
She had left her job seven months earlier because it was "too stressful".
She had no financial problems, but had withdrawn from her circle of friends in the year before her death, she said.
She reported her sister missing on December 17.
When gardai checked her laptop they found that she had researched drowning hotspots in Dublin and the effects of cold water on the body.
The disappearance was well-publicised as gardai tried to track down the taxi driver who took Ms Timothy to Howth.
John Boyle said that she hailed his taxi at Sir John Rogerson's Quay in the city centre and had been "quiet" on the journey.
She was last seen on the East Pier in Howth by Jane Rickard, who was walking her dogs just after 8.30pm.
Aoife Murphy told the court that the family want to see her sister's death recorded.
"We are of the opinion that she went into the water at Howth and there is no suspicion of foul play from any third party.
"We believe Blathnaid to be deceased and we are of the opinion that she took her own life by suicide," she said.
In the absence of a body, Dr Farrell wrote to Minister Alan Shatter seeking jurisdiction to hold the inquest and this was granted in March this year.
He told the family that he could say there was no third party involvement in the death.
However, with no witnesses to the incident or any note or message left signalling her intent to take her own life, Dr Farrell said the evidence did not satisfy the legal test for a verdict of suicide.
He was not avoiding the question of suicide and it is "the most likely explanation", he said, but he had no option but to return an open verdict.