Tara Wright’s zest for life 'could bring joy to those around her’ - heartbroken parents' tribute to teen found in Belfast hospital grounds
A Co Down teenager whose body was apparently left near a Belfast hospital after being driven from the scene of a car crash had a "zest for life that could bring joy to all around her", according to her devastated parents.
Four men have been questioned after Tara Wright (17), from Donaghcloney, was discovered in the grounds of Belfast City Hospital in south Belfast at around 3am on Sunday.
A family statement said: "As parents we are devastated by the heartbreaking passing of our beautiful daughter Tara.
"Tara was a kind, funny, charismatic bright young girl with her whole life ahead of her and we can't believe that we now have to say goodbye to her.
"Tara will be remembered as she lived, a fun-loving, energetic and vibrant soul with a zest for life that could bring joy to all around her.
"Tara will be missed immeasurably not only by us, but her entire family, especially her brothers and sister Charles, Alistair and Anna, who will never forget the love they had for her and the love she had for them."
Police believe Ms Wright was involved in a crash in which a Mercedes car left the road in Castlereagh nearly 30 minutes earlier.
The vehicle was found on its roof near the roundabout at Ballygowan Road close to the Manse Road junction, around eight miles from the hospital.
Another man was injured in the collision, which was reported to police at around 2.30am.
Around 25 minutes later Ms Wright was found by ambulance service personnel, who tried to resuscitate her.
However, she was pronounced dead at the scene.
The PSNI initially said the teenager had been found on the ground next to a grey MG car.
However, CCTV footage examined by police has established that Ms Wright was inside the vehicle when ambulance staff arrived.
The man who was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after being found injured after the crash was last night in a critical condition, according to a health trust spokesman.
DUP councillor Mark Baxter said the news of Tara's death had devastated the community.
"There are no words to describe the deep sense of shock felt in the community over the untimely death of someone so young," he said.
"It's so sad and all we can do is keep this family in our thoughts and prayers."
He said the circumstances in which Tara had been found had prompted many questions, but he pleaded for everyone to think of the teenager's loved ones. "There is so much speculation circulating as to the circumstances, but behind it all, a family have to try and come to terms with such a tragic loss," he said.
"So I'd ask those who have any information to contact the police and to respect the family involved at this most difficult time." He added: "My heart also goes out to the family of the other young individual who is ill in hospital and again my thoughts will
Meanwhile, friends of the 17-year-old have paid moving tributes on social media. Ellis Quigley said he worked with Tara at TeleperformanceUK in Newry, and wrote on Facebook that he saw her on the day of her death.
"Can't believe I only saw Tara yesterday and saw that smile that would make anyone's day and now she's gone," he wrote.
"The funny memories of work and nights out seeing her will be cherished so much. Sending so much love and prayers to her family and friends."
In another Facebook tribute, Neo Godson said that his heart was "completely broke" by her death. "Tara you were such an amazing, funny and kind person, a best friend to me. You walked into the room and just put a smile on everyone's face," he posted.
"You brought the laugh to anywhere you went, you knew how to just make everyone happy. You were just so amazing and unique. All of the memories I have of us I will cherish forever.
"I would do anything in this world to hear your voice one more time. I love you always and rest easy beautiful."
Inspector Nigel Henry said yesterday that officers are following a line of enquiry that Tara had been taken to the hospital in the MG.
He revealed that four men aged 20, 21, 28 and 30 - who had been arrested on Sunday but have since been released on bail - are assisting officers to establish the circumstances leading up to Ms Wright's death.
Offering his sympathies to her family, the senior officer appealed for anyone who witnessed either vehicle to come forward, including motorists who may have dashcam footage of the cars.
"Our investigation is at an early stage. However, we do believe that Tara was injured during the one-vehicle road traffic collision on the Ballygowan Road," he explained.
"We are appealing to anyone who witnessed either the silver Mercedes or grey MG to contact us to assist us with our enquiries.
"We also believe that a grey coloured MG vehicle conveyed Tara to the area of Belfast City Hospital. Therefore we are also appealing to anyone who witnessed this vehicle between the Ballygowan Road and the hospital to contact police."
If Ms Wright's death is officially confirmed to have been connected to Sunday's collision, it will bring the total number of people killed on Northern Ireland's roads to 14 so far this year.
Anyone with information can contact the PSNI via the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 227 of 24/03/19.