Belfast Telegraph

Police officers facing criminal probe over Shannon road death

By Mark Edwards

The Police Ombudsman has launched a criminal investigation into the death of a Co Antrim teenager who was knocked down shortly after being spoken to by police.

Shannon McQuillan (19), from Dunloy, died after she and her boyfriend Owen McFerran were struck by a van in the early hours of January 20.

Mr McFerran (21), from Ballymoney, suffered serious injuries and remains in a stable condition at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Before the tragedy the pair had been taken by ambulance from Magherafelt, bound for Antrim Hospital, after Ms McQuillan became unresponsive following a fall outside a nightclub.

But after an incident on the way to hospital, police were called and Ms McQuillan and Mr McFerran got out of the vehicle.

Shortly afterwards, at around 3.40am, they were knocked down on the Moneynick Road near Toomebridge. The matter was then referred to the Police Ombudsman for an initial investigation.

A Police Ombudsman spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph: "We can confirm that having considered the information we have gathered so far, we have decided that our investigation into the circumstances connected to Shannon's death should be a criminal one."

It's understood three police officers are to be questioned as part of the investigation.

Niall O'Murchu, of Madden & Finucane, representing the McQuillan family, said: "Mr McQuillan and his family have recently learned that the Office of the Police Ombudsman has decided to progress their initial investigation and begin a criminal investigation into offences of gross negligence manslaughter and misconduct in a public office.

"Mr McQuillan would like to thank the media for the space and privacy he and his family have been given so far.

"He now wants to await the outcome of this phase of the investigation in privacy, in what is still a very difficult time, to allow due process to run its course."

The PSNI declined to comment.

Ms McQuillan was a student at Ulster University and a former St Louis Grammar School pupil.

Speaking previously, her older sister Charlene described her as "bubbly and beautiful".

Ms McQuillan's funeral heard a tribute prepared by Mr McFerran's sister. It said: "Sleep tight my angel, be by my side and hold me tight. You are the one who can help me through this fight.

"My love, my best friend, my soulmate, I love you always."

Belfast Telegraph

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