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Head injury caused Omagh woman’s death says Coroner

Mairead McCallion.

A coroner has found that the death of Mairead McCallion was caused by a trauma sustained by the impact to her head as she was being removed from a house at Castleview Court in Omagh in 2014 by her then partner.

The finding by Patrick McGurgan at Laganside Coroner’s Court today came after five days of hearings at the Inquest into the death held in Omagh last month.

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Mairead McCallion’s partner, Noel Knox, had told the court that he had lifted her by the arms out of the property and put her outside, but denied having any part in her death. A charge of murder against him was dropped by the Public Prosecution Service.

Delivering his 12-page report into the death, Mr McGurgan said there was no evidence that the trauma sustained by Mairead McCallion which led to her death had happened during her time alone between the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning of February 22 and 23, 2014.

“I find that the trauma was sustained by an impact to the deceased’s head. It occurred on the morning of Sunday, February 23, 2014 while she was being removed from 6 Castleview Court by her then partner,” Mr McGurgan said.

He also found that key opportunities for the care and treatment of Mairead McCallion had been missed by the PSNI, including the lack of a proper handover of information in relation to what had happened to her on that morning and the failure to carry out a fresh risk assessment into her condition.

Family members of Mairead McCallion’s, who were present in court, have welcomed the key findings by Mr McGurgan.

Her sister, Patricia O’Brien, said that they would now examine the findings along with their legal team before deciding on what options are open to them.

“We believe certainly that the Coroner has gone further in his findings than what we expected,” she said.

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“The Coroner’s findings have reaffirmed to us our commitment to try to get justice for Mairead. He did say that she died as a result of an incident that happened at that address (Castleview Court) on that date (February 23, 2014) and that is further than what we expected from the Coroner.

“He also talked about the missed opportunities by the PSNI in respect of the care of Mairead at the police station.

“Once again our family has been left very hurt and feeling the pain of what happened to Mairead, not just by the incident which took her life but by the care which was given to her in the hours following that.

“It is some comfort that the Coroner has now alluded to the missed opportunities and we believe that lessons have to be learned from this incident. Mairead was a very loving, caring, gentle and kind person and we would loved this not to have happened to her.”

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