Northern Ireland

Francie and Nan O'Reilly: Carbon monoxide killed Newcastle couple

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Media captionNan and Francie O'Reilly died in their caravan in Newcastle after being overcome by carbon monoxide fumes

A couple in their 70s, who died in their caravan in Newcastle, County Down, earlier this year, were the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Francie and Nan O'Reilly were found in their caravan at Bonny's caravan park on Tullybrannigan Road on 21 January.

On Tuesday, the Coroner's Court was told they were found lying on the floor having been overcome by fumes from a malfunctioning gas cooker.

The court was told that their caravan was probably "past its sell-by date".

It had been on the site for 30 years and did not have some of the safety features built in to modern vans.

A health and safety inspector told the court the grill door of the cooker had been closed with the grill on.

This had led to a rapid build-up of fumes, which, along with a gas heater operating in the badly ventilated van, overcame the couple.

The problem with the cooker would have been easily fixed by cutting pieces out of the rubber seal on the grill door to allow air in, he said.

The safety expert said if the grill door had been open even a few millimetres, it would have made all the difference.

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