Woman faced the sky and walked into road

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

Derry’s coroner’s court has heard how a woman knocked down in 2011 “pulled her coat towards her, faced the sky and walked into the road.”

The inquest into the death of Rosie Mongan (23) who died on February 26, 2011 had to be adjourned on Wednesday after the driver of the car who hit her, Robert Ibison, failed to appear.

His solicitor told the court he had no explanation why his client was not in court.

The coroner said so as not to inconvenience civilian witnesses who had appeared they would hear from those in attendance and reconvene at a later date.

The court heard a statement from Dr Alison Kavanagh who said Miss Mongan had suffered a brain injury she would have been unable to survive from.

Dr. James Linus who carried out the post mortem on Miss Mongan said the deceased had suffered a brain injury and laceration to the left side of the back of her scalp.

It was also revealed that on admission to Altnagelvin Hospital Rosie Mongan had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol and was more than four times the legal driving limit.

The court hard that such a level of alcohol may have affected her emotional state and judgement but there was little doubt the cause of her death was the head injury.

A statement from Rosie Mongan’s former G.P. disclosed how the deceased had previously spoken of how life was not worth living following the death of her mother to suicide.

The G.P.’s statement said Ms Mongan had begun drinking at 14 and the consumption had increased since then.

Ann Devine who was out for a walk the night of the accident and saw Miss Mongan being knocked down said she had observed two people at a bus stop arguing.

“One of them stepped off the footpath and did not look at the oncoming traffic,” she said. “They were staggering I thought they were going to get hit.”

She said Miss Mongan had kept walking when a car narrowly missed her and then a second car hit making the deceased fly 20 feet into the air, landing on her back.

Miss Devine told the court she said to the driver of the car “Jesus did you not see her, how did you not see her?”

Adrian Olphert told the court how he had been walking home on the Glenshane Road that night when he came across two people having an argument at the bus stop.

He said the woman had been carrying a large bottle of cider. Then she “looked at me, walked on to the road keeping her face raised toward the sky.”

Mr Olphert said the deceased narrowly missed being hit by two cars who had to brake on the country bound lanes of the road, and another car on the city bound lane that had to swerve before Miss Mongan was catapulted into the air by another car.

Trudy Gurney said she had phoned a taxi to take her to work in Tesco that night and a driver who had taken her to work before called ‘Rob’ had picked her up.

In her statement she told the court she didn’t believe the car was driving overly fast.

“I was sorting my money for the fare when I felt a smash and saw the broken windscreen.”

When asked if she could be described as a friend of Mr Ibison, Ms Gurney said: “No, I know him only vaguely as a taxi driver.”

Emerson Callender who forensically examined the scene told the court there was nothing to indicate that the driver of the car was in excess of the speed limit that night. He said while he couldn’t rule this out there was nothing to say that the driver was in excess of the limit.

Constable Darrell Wattin reading his own statement and that of Sergeant Philip Manus who was the investigating officer but had since retired told the court that the driver Ibison had passed a breath test and his mobile phone had been triaged which established that he had not been using it at the time of the collision or before it.

It was revealed that Ibison had been driving the vehicle as a taxi that night but did not have adequate taxi insurance.

The coroner adjourned the inquest for a date to be fixed to allow Mr Ibison to attend.