Belfast Telegraph

My little princess plunged to her death while trying to save beloved dog, says grieving dad

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

A grieving father whose daughter fell 100ft to her death at a north coast beauty spot said he believed she slipped while trying to save her blind dog.

Kelly McGarvey died after she and her beloved pet Bubbles fell at Downhill, near Castlerock, Co Londonderry.

The 30-year-old's body was discovered following an extensive land and sea search of the area after her family reported her missing.

Her father John said his family believed she may have slipped to her death while trying to protect her pet. The Lhasa Apso, a small Tibetan breed, survived the fall, but had to be put down by a vet due to its injuries.

Kelly's family plan to scatter the dog's ashes over her grave this week.

Mr McGarvey yesterday described his daughter as his "little princess".

Only when identifying her body following the tragedy did he discover she had the affectionate name tattooed on her ankle.

"My wife Jenny and the family think Kelly slipped," Mr McGarvey told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The wee dog couldn't see and was deaf. There's a gap in a wall and we don't know if she went through it and after the dog. She loved the wee dog, it was like a baby to her.

"People used to joke that I trained the dog because it didn't like men."

Kelly last spoke to her parents on the day before her body was found.

They said she had been missing her partner, Lynn McNeill, but otherwise seemed in good spirits.

Kelly was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder three years ago, but Mr McGarvey said she had been happy in recent times.

"I called her my little princess and that was one of the things which identified her, a tattoo she had which I didn't know about," said Mr McGarvey.

"We were very close.

"Jenny is devastated. I don't think it has fully hit me yet."

Kelly and Mr McNeill were engaged in Paris before Christmas.

He travelled from Iraq, where he works as a security consultant, when told of her death.

Kelly ran a teeth-whitening business in Coleraine.

It was there the pair first met.

"People always say that you will know the love of your life when you meet them, and I knew when I met Kelly that I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life," he told the Coleraine Times.

"We were so happy, every single day. Looking back now, I was a lucky man that Kelly wanted me."

Kelly's funeral took place on Sunday.

Mr McGarvey said his family was taking comfort from the overwhelming support they had received. He also thanked the emergency services for their help.

Belfast Telegraph

From Belfast Telegraph