Schoolchildren who found dead body praised for ‘maturity’

Paul Sheridan, principal of the Model Primary School
Paul Sheridan, principal of the Model Primary School

The principal of the Model Primary School in Derry has paid tribute to pupils for their maturity after they discovered a dead body during a field trip.

The Primary 7 class of 27 pupils had been combing the beach at Magilligan in small groups, when five of them saw the outline of a body and reported it to their teacher.

Police have confirmed that a body of a man was found at Magilligan Point and that a post-mortem is to be carried out to determine the cause of death.

Model PS Principal Paul Sheridan told the Journal that everyone’s thoughts were with the man’s family.

Mr Sheridan said the children had been on a nature trail when they made the discovery this morning (Tuesday May 20th).

He said: “They were working in groups when they came across the body, and they then reported to their teacher. The children were taken away from the scene and the appropriate authorities, police, coastguard, on both sides of the border were informed.

“I was contacted at the school and the children then went and had their lunch and came back to school.

“I have been in contact with the relevant authorities within the Western Board and spoke to the children who were in the group that found the body. We also contacted all the parents of that class to tell them what had happened.

“What we have encouraged them to do is talk about the incident, let the children talk about it and share their experience, and to keep a close eye on them.

“None of them at this stage seem to be traumatised.

“All the children acted in a very mature manner. They came back and spoke about it very clearly. We looked at the positive aspect of it- what we told the children is that they have been fortunate in that they have helped bring closure to a traumatic event for some family.”

Mr Sheridan added: “We don’t know who the person is, but the school extends our condolences to the family. They are in our prayers.”

A PSNI spokesman meanwhile confirmed to the Journal: ”Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a man whose body was discovered by members of the public at Magilligan Point this morning, Tuesday 20 May.

“A post-mortem examination will be carried out to determine the cause of death.”