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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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Woman present at scene of Buncrana pier tragedy launches damages claim

Stephanie Knox was at the pier with her then-boyfriend Davitt Walsh when the tragedy unfolded.

The tragedy happened just over two years ago in Donegal.
The tragedy happened just over two years ago in Donegal.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A WOMAN WHO was present at the scene of the Buncrana pier tragedy has made a claim in relation to the tragedy.

Stephanie Knox was at the pier with her then-boyfriend Davitt Walsh when she noticed that a car had slipped down the slipway towards the water.

Five members of the same family perished in the March 2016 tragedy including Sean McGrotty, his sons Mark, 11, and eight-year-old Evan, his mother-in-law Ruth Daniels and her teenage daughter Jodie-Lee Tracey.

The sole survivor of the tragedy was young baby Rioghnach-Ann, who was taken from the water by Davitt Walsh.  Stephanie Knox also helped warm up the baby at the scene before emergency services arrived.

Now, two years on from the tragedy, Knox has launched a damages claim with the father of Sean McGrotty telling Derry Now that he received a letter informing him of the action.

“It was a private delivery and I had to sign for it; it was a big envelope full of legal documents – hard for the ordinary man in the street to understand,” 86-year-old Noel McGrotty told Derry Now.

“Then I saw the name Knox and realised it was from the girl that took the baby when she was brought out of the water that day.”

McGrotty also said that he did not know why he received the letter as he was not the executor of his son’s estate.

A solicitor for Knox told The Irish News that she did not send a letter to Noel McGrotty claiming compensation.

Maoliosa Barr, of Barr and Company Solicitors in Derry, said “she did not send any letter to the McGrotty family”.

The Irish News reports that the letter may have been sent to  Noel McGrotty by another organisation on Stephanie Knox’s behalf.

In cases where a claim for competition is made, the claimant first makes an application with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). Following that, the PIAB notifies the person or organisation against whom the claim is being made.

In a Facebook post last night, Stephanie Knox’s sister Laura sought to clarify the situation and said that her sister did not intend that a letter would be sent to Noel McGrotty and had been intending to make a claim against Donegal County Council.

Laura wrote that Stephanie had been informed that a number of other claims were being made in relation to the incident so she sought legal advice.

“Stephanie would never be as spiteful to claim off an 86-year-old man. She was under the impression that the claim was against the Donegal council and due to the same reason that the family were claiming for – algae being on the slipway and other reasons,” she said.

An inquest into the tragedy recorded a verdict of death by misadventure in the case of each of the five individuals.

Comments have been closed for legal reasons. 

Read: ‘Death by misadventure’ recorded by inquest into the five fatalities in Buncrana Pier tragedy >

Read: Pathologist says driver of jeep in Buncrana pier tragedy was over drink-driving limit >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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