Family plan to refer PSNI crash investigation to Ombudsman over 'unanswered questions'

The family of a young woman who died in a car crash in 2012 are planning to refer the PSNI investigation to the Police Ombudsman.

20 year old Gemma McHale died in what police described as a single vehicle crash near Belleek in County Fermanagh.

An inquest into her death said there are 'unanswered questions' and Gemma's mother, Siobhan believes another vehicle was involved in the crash.

"Gemma was coming this way and her tyre marks were on the grass verge there," Siobhan explained.

"The other car were going this way and the tyre marks were there - the PSNI did not investigate those tyre marks.

Gemma's car struck a bridge as she was driving home from seeing her sister in Co Mayo. Credit: UTV

The family are now waiting on the findings of a PSNI reinvestigation but they are on the brink of referring the case to the Police Ombudsman.

However, Siobhan says nothing will ever give her complete closure.

"I would love to have Gemma back and nothing is going to give me that," she said.

"Even if the unanswered questions are answered, it will never fulfill what I need or what I want, but it would be good to know what exactly happened on the night."

Asked about whether there may be someone who knows something about Gemma's death, Siobhan said, "Certainly I won't be angry, but if they would just come forwards and say, OK look this is what happened - just to know."

As part of her journey through grief, Siobhan has written a book entitled Good Morning My Beautiful Angel - it consists of letters written to Gemma in the ten years since she died.

Siobhan with her book Good Morning My Beautiful Angel Credit: UTV

Siobhan's book also remembers a separate family bereavement - her teenage sister Kathleen Dolan died in a loyalist bombing in December 1972.

The blast happened in her home village of Killeter as she was on her way to post invitations for her wedding.

"It was therapeutic. It has touched a lot of people. I have had messages from strangers telling me how it has helped them," she said.

Kathleen Dolan died at the age of 19. Credit: Family photo

In 1999, Gemma appeared on UTV's School Around The Corner with her local primary school.

Gemma always said the appearance was her 'claim to fame' which inspired her to complete her media degree at Ulster University - something she never got to finish.

"She was stunningly beautiful. But that beauty wasn't just on the outside. It radiated from a huge heart within a tiny frame.

"She had so much love to give."

Gemma McHale (centre) appeared on School Around the Corner in 1999. Credit: UTV Archive

In response to the McHale's family's concerns regarding the PSNI investigation, Chief Inspector Robert McGowan said:

"Our thoughts remain first and foremost with the McHale family who are still suffering the consequences of the tragic events of 2012.

"There was an extensive police investigation in relation to this incident on 18th May 2012 where 20-year-old Gemma sadly lost her life in a road traffic collision.

"Following an inquest in 2016, the Coroner gave an open verdict which included the possibility of the involvement of a second vehicle in the collision.

"A thorough re-investigation was launched over a series of months under the direction of an accredited senior investigating officer.

"Once enquiries were complete, officers met personally with the McHale family and their community representative, to discuss the findings at length.

"To date, no other vehicle has been identified as being involved in the collision. We were grateful for the opportunity to meet with the family.

"While the investigation has been closed, any new evidence should be brought to the attention of Police by contacting 101 and quoting reference 43 18/05/12."

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