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Irish woman killed in airport fall was on a surprise trip home

Horror fall: Judith Coughlan
Horror fall: Judith Coughlan

By Conor Feehan

A young Irish mother who fell to her death in a Spanish airport was on her way to surprise her father with a Christmas visit when the tragedy occurred.

Judith Coughlan (28) was on a walkway in Alicante-Elche Airport when she fell over a railing and dropped around 18 metres to the floor below on Sunday. The mum-of-two was killed instantly.

Her partner dropped her to the airport minutes earlier and was not aware of the tragedy until the authorities contacted him.

“Judith was on her way to surprise me with a visit home for Christmas. I had no idea she was coming,” her father Brian said at his home in Arklow, Co Wicklow. “Instead I got a call on Christmas Eve to say she had died.”

Judith’s mother Corey was in Australia where she was due to marry to her current partner when her daughter was killed.

Corey is well-known in Arklow where she has worked with the local County Council.

 Judith had moved to Spain with her partner and daughters around a year ago. News of the tragedy was slowly filtering through to Arklow yesterday.

Her father Brian added: “I’m told that the authorities have looked at CCTV of the area where Judith had what looks like an awful accident.

“They say she wasn’t pushed and she didn’t jump, but that she fell over a low railing,” he added.

He paid tribute to Judith as a strong-minded young woman.

“I can’t believe this has happened. Her two little girls are just gorgeous and at least we will still have some of Judith through them,” he said. “Judith was tough and bloody-minded, and I was proud of that.”

Judith’s remains were cremated yesterday and Brian was due to fly out to Spain.

“I might try and take some of Judith’s ashes home and scatter them here,” he said.

Authorities in Spain have launched an investigation into the exact circumstances of the tragedy.

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