Huge tragedy | 

Death of mum Bernadette Connolly last seen on Dublin beach is ‘a mystery’, inquest told

The 49-year-old was reported missing on January 7 after her coat and bag were found on Donabate Beach.

Bernadette Connolly

Bernadette Connolly

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The death of Dublin woman Bernadette Mary Connolly, whose body was discovered on a beach in Blackpool earlier this year, has been described as a mystery at an inquest in England.

The 49-year-old was reported missing on January 7 after her coat and bag were found on Donabate Beach.

A few weeks later, on February 4, a body washed up in Blackpool and DNA analysis confirmed that it was Bernadette.

The tragic mum, of Berwick Avenue in Dublin, was last seen being dropped off by a taxi at the car park of the Shoreline Hotel in Donabate shortly before midday on January 7.

She walked towards the entrance to Donabate Beach and, less than an hour later, took a picture on her phone of Malahide Bay.

Her coat and handbag, which contained her mobile phone, were later discovered on the beach.

An inquest was held at Blackpool Town Hall on Tuesday and reported by Lancashire News.

Senior Coroner Alan Wilson heard that Ms Connolly had “no mental health issues” and her family insisted that she would not have taken her own life.

The coroner said: “Bernadette Connolly unexpectedly went missing on January 7. Her clothing was located on Donabate Beach and despite an extensive search she could not be located until the afternoon of Friday February 4 when her body was located by the seawall.

“This lady had been found because the tide had receded and there was nothing to indicate she had been the victim of a crime.

"She probably entered the sea, but it cannot be established how or why.

“This lady had a lot to look forward to; she had a new career, she didn't have any financial concerns, she had a loving family, she had enjoyed a nice Christmas and she had recently paid her health insurance. Did she die as a result of her own actions, or did she intend to end her life? I cannot say that.”

An investigation, led by gardai with assistance from Lancashire Constabulary, concluded that there were no suspicious circumstances or evidence of third-party involvement in Bernadette's death.

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A pathologist was unable to determine a medical cause of death due to the “extensive decomposition” of her body.

In a report to the coroner, Bernadette’s GP, Dr Ellen Jones, said the Dublin mum “never expressed anything about ending her own life”, adding that the day before she disappeared, she had made a “not insignificant” contribution to her health insurance premium.

The inquest heard that Bernadette, who worked as security personnel at Dublin Airport for 17 years, lived with her parents and her daughter Jade, who described her beloved mum as “intelligent, independent and kind”.

In a statement, she said: “Our bond is unbreakable, it is so, so strong. We're the best of friends who shared many laughs, many cries, highs and lows.

“Countless memories that will live on forever and I promise to make many more for us both. I wanted to say how proud I am to be your daughter. My teacher, my protector, my world.”

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