Limerick mother seeks truth about her daughter’s death

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A LIMERICK mother is looking for the “full truth” of the circumstances surrounding the death of her 16-year-daughter whose body was found in the city canal last year.

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Shauna O’Sullivan was described as a “level-headed” girl with her full life before her and in April 2013, she was taking driving lessons and hoping to qualify for her driving licence.

On the night before she went missing, she was seen by her sister who said she was in “good form”.

24 hours later, her body was removed by search and rescue divers from the city canal off the Dublin Road after it was noticed by a passer-by.

An inquest into her death held last year returned an open verdict after Limerick City Coroner John McNamara heard that the case had been fully investigated by Gardaí and that foul play was not an issue.

Family members protested at the inquest and said there was a much more sinister aspect to Shaun’s death. They were critical of the Gardaí over their handling of the investigation.

Limerick Garda Inspector Seamus Ruane and investigating Garda John O’Connell, both told the inquest that there was no evidence that a minor assault on the girl earlier that night was linked to Shauna’s death.

The city coroner said that it was the view of the inquest that “Nobody saw her fall in. Nobody saw her jump in or nobody saw her being pushed, so the inquest must return an open verdict”.

However, this week, Shauna’s mother, Elizabeth O’Sullivan told The Limerick Post that the full truth has still to be told as to what happened to her daughter.

“Somebody out there knows something and there are plenty of questions that need to be answered. We said it at the time of the inquest that there were two people who were not interviewed by the Gardaí and I am sure they know exactly what happened.”

Ms O’Sullivan said she is “pleading for information” as her family still struggle with Shauna’s tragic death.

“I have spoken to my solicitor and I am looking to have the inquest re opened and that means taking it to the High Court but we need this. We need to know what happened that night,” she said.

Garda inquiries and a review of CCTV footage at locations in the city indicated that the teenager was seen running from the High Street area of the city towards Denmark Street.

The family claimed that she was in the company of others when she ran from her sister who was encouraging her to go home.

Medical evidence heard indicated toxic levels of alcohol along with therapeutic levels of diazepam and alprazolam.

According to the pathology report, death was due to drowning.

The coroner said that while he accepted that the girl did not have suicidal thoughts and there was no evidence of foul play, an open verdict would be the most appropriate one.

One of the girl’s sisters responded: “Ye just want to open and shut this case so that it goes away – the questions will never go away for us”.

Stating that the canal off the Dublin Road is known as an area where teenagers congregate, Ms O’Sullivan said that “kids go to the canal for a drink, we all know that – they don’t go there to jump in the river.

“She was a happy girl and had the world in front of her. She didn’t know what she was doing, but my daughter didn’t jump. I believe she was pushed.”