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Widows of Ballyedmond crash crew in tears as inquest told tragedy tore their worlds apart

By Ben Kendall

Published 13/01/2016

Carl Dickerson
Carl Dickerson
Four people died in the accident
Lord Ballyedmond with his widow, Mary, who is now deputy chair of Norbrook, at their home in Rostrevor
Lord Ballyedmond
The funeral of Lord Ballyedmond, a Northern Ireland peer killed in a helicopter crash in England. Pic Arthur Allison
The funeral of Lord Ballyedmond, a Northern Ireland peer killed in a helicopter crash in England. Pic Arthur Allison
The funeral of Lord Ballyedmond, a Northern Ireland peer killed in a helicopter crash in England. Pic Arthur Allison
The funeral of Lord Ballyedmond, a Northern Ireland peer killed in a helicopter crash in England. Pic Arthur Allison
The funeral of Lord Ballyedmond, a Northern Ireland peer killed in a helicopter crash in England. Pic Arthur Allison
The funeral of Lord Ballyedmond, a Northern Ireland peer killed in a helicopter crash in England. Pic Arthur Allison

The widows of a pilot and co-pilot killed when their helicopter crashed while carrying Northern Irish multi-millionaire Lord Ballyedmond have told an inquest of their heartbreak.

The Conservative peer and leading industrialist was killed on March 13, 2014 when the helicopter came down shortly after take-off in foggy conditions near the estate he owned in Gillingham, Norfolk.

Declan Small (42), of Mayobridge, Co Down, Dr Haughey's site foreman at the Norbrook plant in Newry, also died in the crash.

Co-pilot Lee Hoyle's widow Georgina told his inquest he was a conscientious man who would not take chances with safety.

The father-of-one had served in the Army, including during the Gulf War.

"He was my best friend and losing him left our family devastated," she added.

Paula Dickerson, widow of helicopter pilot Captain Carl Dickerson, said in her statement: "The accident shook my world and took the love of my life from me.

"He will be forever loved and missed by my family and I."

The women cried as their statements were read out.

Aviation pathologist Wing Commander Graeme Maidment found the two pilots and Mr Small died of head and chest injuries, while Lord Ballyedmond died of chest injuries.

Belfast Telegraph

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