Belfast Telegraph

Boutique owner Norma Diffley first roads victim of 2016 in Northern Ireland

Man arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving released on bail

By David Young

Northern Ireland's roads have claimed their first victim of 2016 after a well-known businesswoman died in a horror crash on the main Belfast-Bangor road.

The woman - named locally as fashion store co-owner Norma Diffley (75) - died in a two-vehicle collision on the A2 at the Devil's Elbow.

Three ambulances were immediately scrambled to the location, halfway between the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and Ballyrobert junction.

Mrs Diffley could not be saved, and was declared dead at the scene.

The driver of the other car involved in the crash was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for treatment.

His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

On Tuesday officers investigating the fatal road traffic collision arrested a 33-year-old man on suspicion of dangerous driving causing death.

He was Wednesday morning on bail pending further enquiries.

Senior investigating officer, Inspector Collins, has appealed for anyone who was travelling in the area yesterday and who witnessed the collision or who has any information to contact the Collision Investigation Unit in Sprucefield on 101.

Mrs Diffley ran a Donaghadee boutique called Re-Creations. She is survived by her two daughters Lisa Bell and Lynn Stevenson.

The second-hand designer fashion store opened in 2007 and was featured in the Belfast Telegraph in 2014.

Mrs Diffley had lived in London for 16 years and had also worked in the House of Lords as a secretary to the Clerk of Sound Archives.

She was also involved in Groomsport's Remembrance Sunday parade.

Parade organiser William Hay knew her well: "She was an extremely well-liked, well-loved lady, devoted to her family - and a strong member of Groomsport Church of Ireland.

"Both myself and the rector, Duncan Pollock, will miss 'Nornie' as we all called her, immensely."

Councillor Alan Chambers was a personal friend.

"Norma was a lovely, energetic woman who lived for her family - they were her whole life," he said.

North Down DUP MLA Gordon Dunne said: "I am deeply saddened at this tragic event which has taken place on the very busy A2 dual-carriageway between Bangor and Belfast.

"This is a real tragedy for the local area and my thoughts and prayers are with the family of this lady who has sadly passed away.

"This terrible accident is a stark reminder to all of us about the constant dangers of travelling on our roads."

The MLA said the Devil's Elbow had a long-standing reputation as a dangerous section of road.

Describing the bend as "notorious", the MLA revealed that he had made representations to the Department for Regional Development about safety on that stretch of the arterial route - and vowed to do so again.

A senior police officer last night appealed for witnesses to the crash.

The A2 was closed in both directions following the crash as police investigated the incident, bringing traffic chaos to one of Northern Ireland's busiest routes.

In 2015, 74 people died on Northern Ireland's roads - five fewer than the previous year's total of 79.

Belfast Telegraph


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