Wednesday 22 November 2017

Stacia suffered heart attack before falling into stream

STACIA PURCELL, who went missing in late October, died from a heart attack prior to falling into a stream, an inquest into her death on Thursday heard.

Stacia's remains were found in a remote part of the Knockavilla and McMurrough area on November 7, over a week after she went missing.

Family members of Ms Purcell who was 66, attended the inquest hearing at the Brandon House Hotel, where details of her final hours were recounted.

A statement from Emer Cashen outlined how she saw Stacia opposite the CBS pitch at 9:30 pm on October 30.

She said Stacia was walking in the direction of the ponds with her mobile phone in her right hand which had a light shining from it. She also had her short sleeve hi-vis jacket on and a hat with strings hanging from it. Her hood was up and she was carrying a walking stick in her hand.

Brian O'Neill said he decided to search along by a stream that goes through his land at McMurrough on the afternoon of November 7 and came across something in the stream.

'A few things were caught up in the water and I noticed something of a creamy, brown colour.' He realised they were human remains and contacted Gardaí immediately at 1:42 pm.

The Gardaí arrived a short time later and Mr O'Neill was informed at 6 pm that day that a woman's body had been found.

The inquest heard that Stacia's son PJ formally identified her remains at Waterford Regional Hospital mortuary the following day.

Pathologist Dr Maurice Murphy said he carried out a post mortem on Stacia on November 8, adding that there was no evidence that she suffered any physical trauma.

The inquest heard Stacia had suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed into the stream, and that she may have suffered a loss of consciousness immediately prior to this.

The inquest also heard that there was very little fluid in Stacia's lungs, which indicates that she didn't die from drowning.

County Wexford Coroner Dr Sean Nixon said: 'She probably suffered a heart attack some time beforehand and that left her very vulnerable to sudden cardio respiratory arrest when she was near the water. She may well have collapsed suddenly and fallen into the water dead or unconscious.'

He recommended a verdict of death by natural causes, which the inquest jury agreed with.

Dr Nixon extended his condolences to the Purcell family, saying he hoped the findings of the inquest would provide some level of closure for them.

Inspector Derek Hughes said New Ross gardaí became very familiar with the high regard Stacia was held in the community during the search for her late last year.

Stacia's son PJ thanked the Gardaí and the community for their help in searching for his mother for over a week last autumn.

New Ross Standard

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