Belfast Telegraph

Tributes to caring, fun-loving Belfast barrister Shona Killen following holiday death in Spain

By Jonny Bell

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to young barrister Shona Killen following her shock death while on holiday in Spain.

Ms Killen was on holiday in the Costa Del Sol with her partner when she died suddenly. It is not known how she died at this stage.

She was 27-years-old and has been described as a highly-respected lawyer.

Based in Belfast she was originally from the Kircubbin area, in Co Down.

A talented actress Shona went to school at Our Lady and Saint Patrick's College, Knock in Belfast before studying law at Queen's University.

She had been fundraising and was to take part in this weekend's Memory Walk at Stormont in aid of the Alzheimer's Society, a cause close to her heart.

More: Tributes paid to young barrister who died on Spanish holiday

A fellow barrister said the legal community was in shock following news of the sudden death.

He would have worked alongside Shona on a near daily basis in the Belfast and Newtownards courts where she was usually found.

He said: "I was in court when the circular came around about the death and I looked at the email and I was just stunned.

"She was a hard working, good-natured person. She fought hard for her clients and would never back down. Socially she was very friendly, personable and always joking about.

"She would never walk past you and always would say hi and ask about your cases.

"Not a single person would have a bad word to say about her - just a lovely person."

The barrister said Shona was always ready to devote herself to a good cause and sat on the Bar's committee for charities.

He continued: "The death has had a real impact at the Bar. It's only a small community of 600 members or so and you get to know people really well.

"And this news, you can tell, it has had a real impact on us all. There is like a shadow cast over the Bar, everyone is in small circles talking about Shona and how they will remember her.

"It gets you very hard we are all shocked, she will be terribly missed not just for her legal skills but people will miss her around."

"When you realise the person you see nearly every morning will not be around anymore, it hits you hard.

"Certainly, she'll be terribly missed."

Friends have paid tribute to Shona on social media and condolences have been paid to the family.

"God rest u Shona Killen God only picks the best flowers to bloom in the garden and u certainly were that flower that everyone loved. We will all miss u so much xxx," one friend wrote.

Another wrote: "No matter what mood I was in Shona Killen could always make me laugh and God knows I wish she could come up with some genius now. I'd give anything for a yarn with my bestie right now."

Former Alliance MLA Kieran McCarthy knew the family well.

He said: "We are all part of the same parish and to hear this was just shocking. The whole community is devastated.

"To see a young talented woman such as Shona have her life cut short is just heartbreaking."

The Bar of Northern Ireland - which represents barristers - expressed its sympathy.

Liam McCollum QC, Chairman of the Bar Of Northern Ireland said: "It is with shock and great sadness that the Bar of Northern Ireland has learned of the sudden passing of our esteemed member, Shona Killen this weekend while on holiday in Spain.

"Called to the Bar in 2011, Shona was a well-known and highly respected young barrister, endeared to all who knew her and renowned for her fundraising efforts.

"On behalf of the Bar, I would like to express our deepest condolences to her friends and family, assuring them of our thoughts and prayers and the provision of any and all support we can offer during this most difficult time.”

Shona began works as a barrister after graduating from Queen's and specialised in criminal, family and personal injury cases.

On the Bar Library website she described her main objective as "client care".

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