‘An enjoyable day out with friends ended as a tragic accident’- Judge
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
AN inquest into the deaths of Newry man Eamonn Morgan and his girlfriend Charlotte Sant in Qatar in June 2015 has found that the couple died from head and neck injuries.
Eamonn and Charlotte, both 24-years-old, had met some years earlier when Eamonn was studying at Liverpool John Moores University and Charlotte was a student in Manchester.
They decided to move to Qatar together and they had been living and working in Doha for about around a year, teaching PE in English-speaking schools in the Middle-Eastern country.
Eamonn played for St John Bosco and was a member of the Qatar GAA. Charlotte had started training at the club a short time before her death.
Just days before the fatal accident, two friends - Nicola Fletcher and Holly Smith - had flown out and they joined the two teachers on the day of the accident for a buggy ride across some sand dunes.
They had taken turns driving the vehicle, but at the time of the accident, Fletcher was at the wheel, with Eamonn and Charlotte rear seat passengers.
Warrington Coroner's Court heard that as Fletcher drove them over a dune they only realised at the last moment it was a sheer drop on the other side.
The two friends in the front of the buggy narrowly escaped serious injury but Charlotte and Eamonn in the back suffered serious fatal head and neck injuries.
The Coroner returned a verdict on the couple of death by accident due to multiple injuries.
Fletcher told the court: "We headed up a dune and it just looked flat on top like the others.
“We didn't know what was happening until it had happened. I was in control, my foot wasn't on the floor. It was just a sheer drop."
She also told the court that on June 26, the day prior to the tragedy, the three girls had been food shopping, sitting around the pool and enjoying drinks with friends.
The group, she said, had had no safety briefing although they wore seat belts. The hearing heard that although they had been all offered safety helmets, each of them declined to use them.
“It was time to head back and I said I would have another go," said Fletcher.
After the impact, she said she was "in a bad way" but located Eamonn's phone on the ground and called for help.
“I didn't see them in the back, I heard Holly next to me. It is just all hazy," she added.
“Charlotte and Eamonn had used buggies before and nothing had ever happened. We said no to the helmets - it was a case of a quick decision but a silly one.
“I remember just looking down and seeing all the sand. I think the buggy must have rolled.
“I woke up in hospital, I don't remember anything just after the incident. I don't understand, I thought the front would get the impact."
Speaking at Charlotte's inquest, Cheshire Coroner Alan Moore said: "There was no way that it could have been anticipated. What had been planned as an enjoyable day out with friends ended as a tragic accident."
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