Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Britney Spears gig woman plunged to death from fairground ride in Dublin

A young woman who plummeted to her death from a fairground ride outside The O2 in Dublin was extremely drunk at the time, an inquest heard.

Tragic Siobhan Healy (31) from Willsborough in Ballinlough, Co Roscommon, died instantly when she fell from the ride on October 24, 2011, after attending a Britney Spears concert.

The toxicology report found that she was more than eight times the legal driving limit and had drunk enough alcohol to kill a man.

Ms Healy attended the concert with her cousin Fiona Kilboyle who told Dublin Coroner’s Court that they started the evening with a “few drinks” before heading into The O2.

When the concert finished, they decided to try the funfair rides beside the venue, she said.

They were on the Tip Top ride – a machine which rotates a number of gondolas at speed while tilted upwards, with occupants held in by a bar at their waist – when Ms Kilboyle saw her cousin falling out.

“Siobhan slid down under the bar and she was gone. I remember looking around and wondering when the ride would stop and where she had gone to. The ride stopped and I got off and saw Siobhan lying face down on the steps,” she said.

One of the machine’s operators, Dwayne McFadden, described seeing a “blur” falling at a steep angle about 10 to 15 seconds before the ride was due to end. Ms Healy crashed into the platform steps.

She bounced up and hit the railing before landing at the bottom of the steps.

“It happened in less than two seconds,” he said.

The machine had been certified as fit for use by a Department of Environment engineer in February 2011 and all safety bars were locked down when the ride finished.

Mr McFadden said that the machine is back in use but has been modified with a second locking system and bullhorn stumps have been added to prevent someone slipping under the bar.

The post mortem found that Ms Healy died as a result of multiple traumatic injuries sustained in the fall.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said  the toxicology report revealed an “extremely high” level of alcohol in her blood at the time at 425 milligrams per cent. The fatal level of alcohol in a woman is 300 milligrams per cent.

Barrister for the family, Liam Bell, said that Mrs Healy’s mother Doreen is a widow who had been left “bereft” by her only child’s death and who wants to ensure that no “other parent has to endure what she has endured”.

The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure and recomm ended that, regardless of a person’s alcohol level, the safety of any passenger on a fairground ride should be “assured”.

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