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Crash victim's mother had picked outfit for tragic daughter's wedding

Bernadette McNicholl was killed in a car crash near Cookstown

By Christopher Woodhouse

Published 14/04/2015

Road Victim Bernie McNicholl
Road Victim Bernie McNicholl
Lorry driver Albertas Daskevicius
Road victim Sean McElwee

A mother-of-two killed in a road crash on Sunday was looking forward to her daughter's wedding - she had even picked her outfit for the big day.

Bernadette McNicholl was returning home from a night out with friends when the car she was travelling in struck a tree near Cookstown at around 2.30am.

Known to friends and family as Bernie, she was one of 12 siblings from the townland of Derrylaughan, near Coalisland in Co Tyrone.

The Rev Benedict Fee of Clonoe parish near Derrylaughan said she was a well-liked woman from a respected family.

Understood to be in her 50s, she lived in Moneymore and worked for the Civil Service.

Her death was the third fatality on Northern Ireland's roads in just 24 hours and the 20th this year.

Mrs McNicholl was eagerly anticipating the wedding of her daughter Seana in November and it's understood she had her outfit already picked for the big day.

Fr Fee said: "We were all looking forward to her daughter Seana's wedding, but her son Gary is now on his way home from New Zealand in the worst possible circumstances.

"We were also looking forward to the ordination in July of her nephew Aidan by the Archbishop of Armagh.

"Aidan would be marrying Seana in November. The wedding will go on but there will be a terrible shadow over it."

Mrs Nicholl was the third person to be killed on the roads of Tyrone in just 24 hours. Sean McElwee (43) died after a collision near Strabane at around 10pm on Saturday as he returned from Lifford Greyhound Stadium after watching one of his dogs race.

He was a groundsman for Fr Rock's GAA club and lived beside its ground, Paddy Cullen Park, in Cookstown. His father Francie (71), a passenger in their van, escaped unhurt after the collision with a lorry.

Mr McElwee's funeral is due to take place at Holy Trinity Church in Cookstown at 10am tomorrow.

A 49-year-old lorry driver arrested following the crash appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court yesterday.

The court was told that 49-year-old Albertas Daskevicius, from Bawncourt in Ballykelly but originally from Lithuania, admitted to police that the collision was his fault. He faces a number of other charges, including driving without insurance and without a tachograph.

A police officer said he had pulled out to pass a lorry that was slowing down to turn left when he crossed the white line into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

The court heard that he had not consumed alcohol, and there was no evidence the accused was speeding or using a mobile phone at the time. He was released on bail on condition that he does not drive and surrenders his passport and identity documents.

Within hours of Mr McElwee's death, 23-year-old Jayne Burnside was killed near Cookstown. She was walking along a road when she was struck by a car and killed at around 1am on Sunday.

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