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Drowning of troubled Ards teen Ross Magill ruled an accident by coroner

By Laura Abernethy

Published 10/09/2015

Ross Magill’s body was found at Ballyholme beach in Co Down
Ross Magill’s body was found at Ballyholme beach in Co Down

The death of a 19-year-old who drowned at Ballyholme beach in Co Down was an accident, an inquest has ruled.

Ross Magill from Newtownards was found in the water in the early hours of December 15, 2013.

He was wearing just his boxer shorts and a black sports watch.

Two walkers pulled him from the water and attempted to revive him, but he was later pronounced dead.

Mr Magill's family raised questions about the circumstances surrounding his death.

His father Kevin told the court that he believed a third party may have been involved, but the court also heard that his mother, Gillian Gray, thinks he died by suicide.

The court heard that Mr Magill had a history of mental health problems and he had previously jumped from the fourth floor window of his mother's flat.

He had also been abusing aerosols in the months before his death.

In October 2013 he moved in with his father. The court heard he was attending counselling and his father said he was "in great form".

The inquest was told that on the day before he died he had dinner at home and then went out with friends in Bangor. He texted his father around 8.30pm to say he might stay at a friend's house. The alarm was raised when he did not come home the next day.

His father told the court that he did not believe his son took his own life.

During proceedings, he said: "The investigation was based around his troubles, but I think it is something sinister and there is some third party involved."

He told the court that he did believe it could have been an accident. However, the hearing heard that his mother believed he may have taken his own life.

Coroner John Leckey said there were some "unusual features", one being that he was wearing only boxer shorts despite it being late December.

He added that police looked through CCTV footage, spoke to local residents and searched public toilets but his belongings were never found.

However, he also said that there was nothing to show anything of a sinister nature.

Mr Leckey ruled that there was insufficient evidence to show that the death was anything other than an accident.

  • Anyone struggling to cope can call Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, email jo@samaritans.org or visit www.samaritans.org.

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