Friday 6 December 2019

'Death by misadventure' verdict as tragic death of young couple recalled

The scene in Clonroche last May after the terrible discovery.
The scene in Clonroche last May after the terrible discovery.

The joint inquest into the deaths of Melissa Giltrap (32) and Stephen De Loughrey (28) of 87 Gimont Avenue Enniscorthy recorded a verdict of death by misadventure at Wexford Coroner's Court last week.

As the couple passed away together on May 4 2015 at 6 Woodlands, Clonroche, it was proposed that the inquests be held at the same time.

The court heard that the couple called to Stephen's sister Daragh De Loughrey's home on the night of May 2. Daragh was living there at the time with her fiance Willy Murphy and younger brother Jamie. Melissa and Stephen said that they needed to stay the night as their bed was broken. The pair had been drinking and arrived with cans of Tennants. They were talking about baby names and getting married. In a deposition, Daragh De Loughrey said that she knew Stephen had been taking drugs for a while.

The court heard that Stephen and Melissa then went upstairs to sleep in their mother's old room. Daragh and Willy heard the sound of drawers opening and closing and Daragh went upstairs to ask them what they were doing.

On Sunday, Daragh observed that a 7Up bottle was gone from the table. She did not hear from her brother or his girlfriend all day but continued to hear noises from upstairs. Her younger brother Jamie arrived home in the afternoon. At 6 p.m. the three residents of the home were having dinner when they heard a loud bang from upstairs. They then heard the noise of a drawer opening so they felt that Melissa and Stephen were ok.

On Monday May 4 there was no sign of the couple. Daragh went to check on them. The door was locked but she got the key from her own bedroom. When she went inside, Stephen was on the ground and Melissa was in bed. She shouted for Willy to ring the ambulance.

In a deposition from Jamie De Loughrey, the court heard that Stephen had been taking drugs for about two years. In another deposition, Willy Murphy said that he hadn't seen the couple take anything while at their home.

Pathologist Dr Nigam Shah said that a toxicological exam showed that the pair had both taken a mixture of ecstasy, sleeping tablets, anti-depressants and a morphine-based drug. Their blood alcohol levels were low. There was no evidence that Melissa was pregnant.

Dr Sean Nixon said that the cause of death was cardio respiratory suppression due to the ingestion of a multitude of medications. He recommended that the jury bring in a verdict of death by misadventure as he did not believe that the couple set out with the intention of causing death.

Sympathy was extended to the Giltrap and De Loughrey families.

Death by misadventure verdict at inquests of young couple

Wexford People