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Student killed herself after ash flight cancelled

THE family of a young fashion student who hanged herself after a flight home to Ireland was cancelled because of the volcanic ash cloud said last night they had not learned any answers about why she died.

The death of Claire O'Dowd (24) remains a mystery after the inquest yesterday at which the coroner concluded Claire had clearly been leading a double life.

Last night, a member of the family said that the inquest had "not really" provided any insight into the reason she had taken her own life.

The former student of Loreto College in Foxrock was reported missing after she failed to contact her worried family in Dublin.

Claire's body was found in dense bushes on a nature reserve in Oxfordshire, 50 miles from where she was reported missing.

She had earlier been to Stanstead airport to catch a flight to Dublin to attend a ceremony at home, but the plane was cancelled because of the Icelandic ash cloud.


Claire then took a series of mystery train journeys, eventually arriving at the nature reserve.

Her tutor confirmed to the inquest that Claire had not attended her fashion course in London for several months. She had also lied to staff at the college that her grandmother had died.

Sanjiv Manek, a consultant pathologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford, confirmed that Claire had sustained a compression of the neck and the airway.

He also confirmed there were superficial cuts to Claire's wrists and thighs but no other external injuries.

Toxicology analysis confirmed the young woman had drunk some alcohol before she died but only enough to result in "moderate intoxication". There was no trace of any drugs.

Oxfordshire Coroner Mr Gardiner concluded: "It is clear that Claire O'Dowd was leading some kind of double life. Her motivation for doing so is something I can't explain and I'm not going to guess at.

"In the circumstances I'm afraid I have to conclude a verdict that she took her own life."