The mother of tragic Belfast schoolboy Noah Donohoe, whose body was found six days after he went missing, has spoken to UTV about her ongoing heartache and search for answers.
The 14-year-old’s death is the subject of both a coroner’s inquiry and a separate corporate manslaughter investigation in relation to access to the storm drain where his body was found.
Noah had left his south Belfast home on his bicycle on Sunday 21 June to meet two friends in the north of the city, where he went to school.
That was the last time single mum Fiona saw her only child alive.
She has been left desperate for answers as to the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, why he deviated from his usual route, and how he came to be found in the storm drain six days later.
“I’m still stuck in those six days, reliving it,” Fiona said.
“I know I have to, for Noah, move forward from those six days, but it’s still a living nightmare.”
He is the whole of my heart and he’s in my heart and around me. He was everything I breathed for. He made me laugh. He really was my everything, my best friend.
Fiona’s nightmare began when her son failed to call as promised and she instinctively knew something was wrong as that was so out of character.
“I’ll never forget that feeling of having to phone the police, because there’s something very real then,” she recalled.
What followed was a massive search operation and an outpouring of support from the community.
But ultimately, the grieving mum has been left with only memories of her talented boy – a musician and keen athlete who was also an exceptional scholar and planned to be a doctor.
Fiona treasures those memories and is comforted by the fact the last words she spoke to her son were of love.
“My one blessing is Noah’s big hug and we were able to say I love you,” she said, noting that such open and easy affection was routine for them.
Helped by her sister Niamh, described by Fiona as her rock, a foundation has also been established in Noah’s name.
“The foundation’s going to be something amazing because it’s got Noah all over it. He will make that foundation help so many children,” she said.
Even in Noah’s absence, his proud mum is determined his memory will live forever.