Belfast Telegraph

Floral tributes to Lesley-ann McCarragher and heartfelt notes left at scene of hit-and-run horror

By Allan Preston

Outside a small church near Milford in Co Armagh devastated members of a rural community stopped to pay their respects at the spot where Lesley-ann McCarragher was knocked down by a hit-and-run driver on Saturday.

Flowers and heartfelt notes were attached to a wooden fence on a grass verge where car tyre marks could be seen.

Many stopped and said a quiet prayer for the popular 19-year-old before talking to one another in disbelief.

Neighbour Jackie Mitchell (50) was one of those who paused to remember the young woman who had gone to school with her son.

"People here are devastated and we're very much a cross-community village," she said. Lesley-ann was small, petite, very competitive, a very caring sort of girl. I can't tell you of anybody that didn't like her, she was just a very caring girl from a lovely family."

She added: "She was head girl of her high school and I heard many of her speeches and she did really well.

"She just won a prize at Loughry College in Cookstown from company Dunbia as well."

Philip Johnston (24) lives close to the McCarragher family.

"It's an awful shock to the Milford community and the whole Armagh area for her to be taken so tragically," he said.

"She was a lovely, friendly and happy girl who was always smiling when you saw her on the street. At such a young age, it's awful sad."

He added: "Me and my girlfriend had walked past that spot just half-an-hour before it happened. She would have been on the safest part of the road, too, because it was straight and there's a large hard shoulder."

Her former school, City of Armagh High, posted a tribute online yesterday.

"The school mourns the passing of past pupil and head girl Lesley-ann McCarragher who passed away early this morning.

"So many people from the school have fond memories of Lesley-ann and we would like to send out condolences to her family and many friends."

Ann McCartney taught Lesley-ann in primary school. She called her "a beautiful, fun-loving and outgoing young girl who put her heart into everything she did. She worked hard but always remembered how to have fun".

School friend Victoria McCarten said: "Thoughts and prayers with her family at this sad sad time. I remember playing hockey with Lesley-ann through school. Such a pleasant girl."

DUP representative William Irwin also extended his sympathies.

"This is an extremely concerning and very sad situation for Lesley-ann's family and I want to pass on my deepest sympathy and my prayers to the McCarragher family at this very traumatic and difficult time," he said.

"I would echo the calls by police for any members of the public who may have witnessed this incident and the vehicle involved to come forward immediately with any information."

Belfast Telegraph


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