Belfast Telegraph

Student killed in crash was in car being followed by the police

By Raymond Kilpatrick

The Police Ombudsman is set to launch an investigation after the death of a 20-year-old woman in a road crash early yesterday morning.

The victim, Claire Kelly, was a passenger in a car being followed by police which left the Old Glenshane Road near Claudy, Co Londonderry and struck a concrete pillar.

Police said they had earlier spotted the burgundy Renault Clio being driven dangerously in the Feeny area and had noted its details at about 1.10am.

They followed it to the scene of the crash around 20 minutes later. Two men, both 22, were last night in custody and assisting police with their inquiries.

Mayor of Limavady, Sean McGlinchey, lives in Dungiven and knows the Kelly family personally.

He said they are understandably devastated at the loss of the popular student.

“It is an awful tragedy, particularly at this time of the year,” he said.

“Claire was very well-known and popular in the area.

“She was a student and worked part-time in a pizza place in Limavady.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard.”

Mr McGlinchey said he understood Miss Kelly’s partner with whom she lived, Shaun Dallas, was also in the vehicle at the time of the smash.

He added: “The community will rally around the family and offer whatever support we can

“My sympathies go to the families involved at this time.”

On her Facebook page, Miss Kelly lists three sisters — Annie, Lorraine and Orla — and a brother, Packie.

The page was inundated with tributes from friends yesterday.

One posted: “Such sad and devastating news Claire, you were simply one of Dungiven's finest young ladies always modest, friendly and well mannered!

“My thoughts and prayers go out to your mother whom you were truly a credit to!

“An inspirational angel we now have.”

Another read: ‘’Just got to know you this last two years, and never a bad word could be said about u Claire, you were a lovely outgoing person and easy to talk to.

“You'll always be in our prayers, you will be sadly missed by all Dungiven folk.”

East Londonderry MLA Adrian McQuillan said the incident has left the community in shock.

“My deepest sympathies are with the family,” the DUP man said.

“The community is in shock and this young woman remains in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time.

“This is such a terrible thing to happen only two weeks before Christmas.”

The funeral of Miss Kelly will take place on Tuesday in Dungiven.

Detectives said the Police Ombudman's Office has been informed of the incident.

Police last night issued an appeal for information.

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