Inquest into death of married couple in Carrick-on-Shannon returns open verdict

A jury in the Coroner’s Court, Carrick-on-Shannon has found that a married couple whose bodies were found in the marina earlier this year, drowned.

The jury returned an open verdict at the inquest into the deaths of Frank Dunne and wife Alexandra.

Today’s inquest heard that the couple who were on holidays hired a boat for a three day break on the river Shannon on the 27th March last.

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Frank Dunne, who was originally from Malahide, Co Dublin and his wife were visiting from their home in Munich, Germany.

The 39 year-old’s cousin, Elaine McCarthy told the court she met the couple for a few drinks on the night of Wednesday 29th March in the Oarsman pub in the town.

They left around 10pm and Ms McCarthy said when she tried to text her cousin twenty minutes later the message was undelivered.

The following day she tried several times to get in touch with Mr Dunne without success and when she contacted the Emerald Star company she learned that the couple had not checked out of their boat when they were due to on Thursday.

Carrick

She travelleled to the marina on Friday and saw that their rented car was still in the car park and when she boarded their boat all their belongings were still there.

Ms McCarthy raised the alarm and was joined by other family members who began searching for the couple.

They discovered Mr Dunne’s body in water near a jetty at 2.30pm. His wife’s body was recovered later that afternoon by members of Loughrea sub aqua team.

In a deposition to the court Douglas Boyd said he was out walking on the main bridge in Carrick-on-Shannon between 10.30pm and 11pm on Wednesday 29th of March when he heard someone shouting, someone calling ‘Frank’.

He and a friend walked to the marina and along the jetty but he said it was very dark and slippy and they couldn’t see anything.

James Hoban who lives at apartments at Inver Gael overlooking the marina said on the night in question he was on the balcony of his 3rf floor apartment when he heard a man shouting help a number of times. He said it was very hard to see and he couldn’t tell exactly where the vouce was coming from.

The post mortems were carried out by Dr Clive Kilgallon who found the cause of death in both cases was due to fresh water drowning.

Toxicology tests carried out found that Mr Dunne had a blood ethanol reading of 283milligrams present  while his wife had a blood ethanol reading of 341 milligrams.

Deputy coroner for Sligo/Leitrim Fergal Kelly said there was no evidence as to the precise details of what happened after 10pm on the night the couple were last seen.

The jury recorded an open verdict with a recommendation that the marina area be better lit and that the local authority be notified of this.

The coroner extended his condolences and said it had been difficult to prepare reports in the case when thise involved were so young nd only stering out on married life.