Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Inquest asked how a one-armed girl hanged herself

The parents of a young woman have voiced concerns at her inquest about how she was able to tie a noose to hang herself despite having just one arm.

Londonderry Coroners Court heard yesterday that a second inquest was being held into the death of Caroline Theresa Campbell, from Cornshell Fields in the city.

This was because Ms Campbell's parents, John and Annrose Comey, had not been told about the first which took place in 2005, a year after their daughter died.

An expert witness gave evidence via video link from Birmingham and demonstrated how it would be possible for Ms Campbell to hang herself despite having lost an arm and shoulder when she was 13 from cancer.

Mr Ide, a forensic scientist and knot tying expert with 39 years experience with the Home Office, said he conducted several experiments whereby he successfully tied a particular knot using just his right hand.

Mr Comey also said he could not understand how his daughter had died in a low, confined space.

Mr Ide was able to confirm that despite the general perception, it was not necessary to be suspended in mid-air for death to occur.

Mr Comey thanked Mr Ide for his explanation and added: “We were never at peace with ourselves, from then until now. But now we understand.”

Coroner John Lecky explained the second inquest was ordered by the Attorney General to address |issues raised by Mr and Mrs Comey. It also included concerns they had about the initial police investigation.

Mr Comey told the court that he wanted to know why the man who found his daughter waited for two hours before contacting the police and why the police did not take a statement from this man until the following day.

He also wondered if the police checked CCTV to verify what time this man left a local pub with Ms Campbell, because he had been told three different times.

Mr Lecky advised Mr Comey to take his concerns to the Office of the Police Ombudsman and said he would willingly give a copy of the inquest to that Office.

The Coroner found that Ms Campbell's death was caused by hanging.

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