Tell us how Dad died

Patrick McConnell who died while on holiday in Jamaica in 2012
Patrick McConnell who died while on holiday in Jamaica in 2012

The family of a Derry man who died on holiday in Jamaica have pleaded with the authorities there to help them find out how their father died.

Patrick McConnell, who was originally from the Shantallow area of Derry, was on the holiday of a lifetime in Montego Bay, Jamaica, when he died unexpectedly in September 2012.

His family still don’t know the cause of death and are unable to officially register his death because they don’t have a death certificate.

Mr McConnell’s daughter, Michaela Anderson told the ‘Journal’ the last 18 months have been an ordeal for her family.

She said that no other grieving family should have to go through this and has pleaded with the Jamaican authorities to help them and let them have ‘closure’.

Mr McConnell was originally from the Shantallow area of Derry but had been living in London for the last 30 years, where he worked as a hospital administrator.

Michaela said when the family received the phone call about her father’s death it was completely unexpected.

“We got the phone call on September 17, 2012 to tell us that Daddy had died. It was two days before he was due to fly home and we weren’t expecting it whatsoever. He was only 55 and in good health.”

“It took a few weeks for the autopsy to be completed and five and a half weeks after he died his body was brought back to Derry. Daddy had travel insurance and they weren’t happy with the autopsy report because it didn’t give a cause of death. They asked for toxicology tests to be carried out and we were told it would take three to six months for these to come back.

In fact it took a year for these results and they have not yet been shared with Mr McConnell’s family.

“For the last year and a half we have been constantly on a knife edge waiting for news so we can get closure. Daddy is buried in the City Cemetery but he is still not officially dead and we still don’t know what happened to him.

“This not knowing has had a massive effect on us and we just want to know how he died, we never thought we would have to jump through so many loopholes to find that out.

Ms Anderson said that despite attempts to get halp from the British and Irish embassies, ‘nobody seems able to help’.

“It has all been very stressful. The only thing we could do is fly out there ourselves. That’s just not realistic and we just don’t have the money to do that.

“Getting a death certificate here seems to be so simple, but we are now so upset and fed up about the whole thing. Going to the media is our last resort because we don’t know where else to turn. No grieving family should have to go through this.”