Northern Ireland

Newcastle caravan park deaths: Francie and Nan O'Reilly 'made for each other'

Nan and Francie O'Reilly were well known in Newcastle Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Nan and Francie O'Reilly were well known in Newcastle

The great nieces of an elderly couple who died in their caravan in Newcastle, County Down, have said the pair were "made for each other".

Colleen and Bernadette O'Reilly said the family was devastated to learn of the deaths.

Francie and Nan O'Reilly were found in their caravan at Bonny's caravan park on Tullybrannigan Road.

An investigation is under way to establish if their deaths are linked to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The discovery of the bodies of the couple, who were in their mid-70s, was made at about at about 15:00 GMT on Wednesday and police remained at the scene on Thursday morning.

The couple's great nieces said they "lived for each other".

Bernadette O'Reilly said: "They were a lovely wee couple, they were just made for each other."

Image caption The police are retaining a presence at the caravan site where the couple died

Her sister, Colleen, said: "You always saw them out and about, more so Francie than Nan, but he never would have passed you on the street. Every time you did see him he would always stop and talk."

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie said that she was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the sudden deaths.

"I have been in touch with local police who have informed me of the discovery of two bodies in a south Down caravan site," she said.

"I understand that police are treating it as suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at this stage.

"I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the families of these two people who are undoubtedly going through a deeply traumatic and difficult time.

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Media captionColleen and Bernadette O'Reilly said the couple were "made for each other", as BBC News NI's Mervyn Jess reports

"I'm shocked and deeply saddened by this awful discovery."

A spokesman from the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) said: "HSENI is looking into the circumstances of a fatal incident at a caravan park in the Newcastle area."

The bodies of the elderly couple have been taken away for examination.

Image caption The bodies were found at Bonnys caravan site on Wednesday

Family and friends of the couple gathered at the scene at Tullybrannigan Road on Wednesday evening.

Local resident Oliver King described the elderly man as a "gem".

"A lovely wee quiet man," he said.

"You would hardly have known he was about, he was very quiet and reserved, he did gardens for pensioners and different other people.

"He was a very nice, honest genuine man."

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