Belfast Telegraph

Tributes paid to Newry mum-of-four killed as car plunges into canal

By Claire Williamson

A mother-of-four who was "loved by all" has died after her car plunged into Newry Canal. The accident happened on the Fathom Line, also known as the Omeath Road, outside the city yesterday afternoon.

Patricia Campbell from Newry was a full-time mother.

Patricia (50) had two sons and two daughters aged in their late teens to early 20s.

She also leaves behind her husband Ian.

The PSNI said that the black-coloured car she was driving entered the canal several miles along the Fathom Line outside the city.

Local residents described the stretch of road as "treacherous" and said it had claimed the lives of many over the years.

Only one car was involved in the incident, which took place shortly before 1.30pm.

The road remained closed in both directions yesterday evening.

Paramedics and three fire appliances were sent to the scene and a specialist rescue team was deployed.

The Fathom Line is the main route to Omeath and Carlingford from Newry.

Last night tributes were paid to the woman.

SDLP councillor John McArdle knew Mrs Campbell well.

He said: "She had four lovely children.

"She hadn't been well in the past few weeks but she was a kind-hearted person who was loved by all.

"The family are broken-hearted. The children in particular – they were close to their mother," he added.

He said the stretch of road which runs along the former ship canal had a black history.

"In my lifetime I am aware of at least 10 cars going off into the canal – most ended in fatalities."

Independent councillor Jackie Patterson also knew Mrs Campbell for years.

He said: "I pass my sympathy on to her family and know that our thoughts are with them at this very sad time.

"The community are really very shocked.

"It's another person who has lost their life in the canal.

"Over the years there have been a lot of improvements there with crash barriers and the walls being reinstated, but it is still plaguing people.

"She was a lovely person. I knew her for years and I knew her mother and late father very well."

Yesterday residents were shocked by the accident but were very aware of the dangers of the road.

Paula Kean from the city said: "It's a seriously dangerous road. The water can be quite high, too. One slip and you are in the water.

"The lorries on it are coming at you flying."

Factfile

The Fathom Line begins just down from Newry Canal's harbour area, the Albert Basin.

It runs along the Buttercrane and Quays shopping centres against the dramatic backdrop of the Mourne Flagstaff Mountains.

Many other people have ended up in the canal either by accident or design, including dissident republican Gareth O'Connor whose car was found in the canal two years after he went missing in 2003.

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