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Stardust victim may have re-entered to look for sister


The inquest into the deaths of 48 people in the 1981 Stardust disaster have been hearing further evidence of how they died.

The court heard about the last movements of Helena Mangan who was 22 at the time of the fire.

She had attended the disco with her boyfriend, John Stout, who also died that night.

The court heard how they were at a table four rows across from the main bar.

Bernard Condon, SC, representing the families, said Helena’s daughter Samantha, who was just four years old when her mother died, had taken up Helena’s passion for baking “with gusto”.

The court heard how Helena had been exposed to toxic fumes, that there was soot in her airway, and that a very high level of carbon monoxide was found during her post mortem.

Forensic pathologist Dr Nat Carey told the court a few breaths of air containing carbon monoxide would make a person unconscious very quickly.

Ms Mangan’s cause of death was given as rapid incapacitation due to inhalation of fire fumes and heat.

The jury heard how twenty year old Julie McDonnell was identified by her clothing; a long blue dress and the jewelry she was wearing.

Forensic consultant pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd described her last known movements, saying that she was last seen alive outside after the fire had started and it is thought she re-entered the building to look for her sister.

He agreed with Des Fahy, SC, that was very reasonable to suggest Julie was overcome when she went back into the building.

Her cause of death was given as rapid incapacitation due to inhalation of fire fumes and heat.


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