Belfast Telegraph

Shannon McQuillan to be laid to rest as boyfriend Owen McFerran remains critically ill

By Victoria Leonard

The funeral of a young woman who died in a weekend road tragedy will take place in her home town tomorrow.

Shannon McQuillan (19), an Ulster University law and criminology student from Dunloy in Co Antrim, died in the early hours of Saturday morning.

She was struck by a van at around 3.40am on the Moneynick Road near Toomebridge.

Her boyfriend, 21-year-old Ballymoney joiner Owen McFerran, remains in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The Police Ombudsman is investigating the accident, and yesterday issued an appeal for witnesses who saw any interaction between police officers and the young couple before the collision.

Prior to the tragedy, Shannon had been taken by ambulance from Magherafelt, bound for Antrim Area Hospital, after becoming unresponsive following a slip on ice.

However, after an incident on the way to hospital, police were called and Shannon and Owen, who was in the ambulance with her, got out.

Then, at around 3.40am, she was knocked down on the Moneynick Road.

A Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) spokesperson said that they would undertake an internal review of the circumstances of the call.

The Police Ombudsman is now investigating police actions leading up to the collision.

A spokesman said: "Our investigators are now working to establish what happened during the interaction between police officers and Shannon and Owen prior to the collision.

"As part of routine police patrolling, officers were in the area of Secrets Nightclub in Magherafelt in the early hours of Saturday morning.

"Between 1.30am and 2am Shannon slipped on ice and required medical assistance. An ambulance was requested.

"Officers were then called to an incident on the Moneynick Road, near Toome, at around 2.50am, as a result of which there was further contact between police and Shannon and Owen.

"Anyone who saw the interaction between the couple and police at ether location is asked to contact us."

The PSNI said that they had "notified the Police Ombudsman, as is normal, established protocol".

Shannon was a former pupil of St Louis Grammar School in Ballymena, while Mr McFerran had studied at Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Ballymoney.

Shannon's funeral will be held at 11am in St Joseph's Church in Dunloy, and she will be buried afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

Parish priest Fr Liam Blaney, who has been comforting the family, described Shannon as a talented, lively and personable young woman.

He added that her heartbroken family are being supported by the close-knit rural community.

Belfast Telegraph

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