Belfast Telegraph

Death of woman was suicide, not foul play: coroner

By Brendan McDaid

A coroner has ruled that a Londonderry woman died by suicide and not through foul play.

Some relatives of mother-of-one Sarah Jane Bradley had claimed to police there were others involved in her death, it emerged at her inquest.

Ms Bradley was found hanging in the Limavady home she shared with her daughter and Kevin O'Neill, her partner of five years, in 2009.

Coroner Brian Sherrard ruled that she was found hanging by her partner Kevin O'Neill at their home in Robertson Crescent at around 6.30pm on Saturday August 1, 2009.

An earlier inquest hearing into Ms Bradley's death had been adjourned after concerns were raised over the circumstances of the 28-year-old's death.

Announcing his findings yesterday, Mr Sherrard said it had been "right and proper" that the family had had the opportunity to examine her death in great detail.

He said he had been left in no doubt about the "tremendous impact" Ms Bradley's death had on her family but added: "I am content that this matter has been investigated as thoroughly as this court can do".

He said there had been particularly strong evidence from assistant state pathologist Dr Peter Ingram.

Dr Ingram said that a post-mortem examination had revealed that she had been "moderately intoxicated" at the time of her death, which could have impacted on her emotional stability.

He added that there was nothing to indicate she had been assaulted or strangled.

Sarah Jane's mother Jean Bradley has refused to accept the verdict and says she will attempt to have the case reopened.

Mr O'Neill admitted there were rows, but said they were over Sarah Jane's heavy drinking.

"We were drifting apart, there were a lot of fights," he said.

He said that when he arrived home on the Friday before her death she had been drinking.

Mr O'Neill said as a result he stayed that night at his former home with his aunt Siobhan McGuigan, which she confirmed.

The following day he said he tried phoning Ms Bradley but could get no answer.

He said he went home and found her lifeless body. He also said he did not call an ambulance or police because he was in shock and began phoning various relatives of his and Ms Bradley's.

Detective Sergeant Alan Adair said that while there were items strewn about the scene nothing struck him as indicating that a struggle had taken place.

The Coroner said that, in conclusion, Ms Bradley "sadly took her own own life in the night in question and died by her own act".

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