Riding death inquest adjourned for expert evidence

Hannah Wiley
Hannah Wiley

An inquest into the death of a schoolgirl killed in an equestrian accident has been adjourned to allow for “additional expert evidence” from the British Horse Association

Hannah Wiley (13), of 29 Laurel Road, Artigarvan in Co Tyrone died from abdominal and chest injuries after falling from her pony while participating in a gymkhana event in Eglinton on August 8 last year.

An inquest into the young teenager’s death at the show jumping event at Eglinton Equestrian Centre was due to begin hearing evidence at Derry courthouse today.

Following a submission by Mark Reel, barrister for the Wiley family, Coroner Jim Kitson adjourned the inquest, stating there were “concerns” that additional evidence should be made available before the hearing proceeds.

Mr Reel said that “all the evidence is not available”, adding that a statement from Hannah’s father Edmund - who witnessed the tragedy and whose evidence could “further” some of the matters raised - was not among the papers before the court.

The coroner said that public events such as the gymkhana were occurring on a “weekly basis” in Northern Ireland, adding that the gathering of additional information on the circumstances of Hannah’s death was “in the family’s interest and the wider public interest”.

Mr Kitson said “issues” had arisen and that “additional expert evidence from the British Horse Association” and others would be sought. “I will make additional enquiries and seek additional expert evidence.”

He apologised to Hannah’s parents Edmund and Ethna, who were in court clutching a riding helmet and a small body protector. “I’m so sorry you lost your little daughter in such tragic circumstances.” He said the inquest would reconvene at an “appropriate” date.