Northern Ireland

Newspaper review: Teenager's death, 'blonde' bombshell

Daily Mirror front page Image copyright Daily Mirror

One story dominates Monday's papers - that of a 15-year-old girl who died after falling unconscious in a woodland area in Portadown on Saturday evening.

The police have said drugs are one line of inquiry in the teenager's death.

The News Letter's front page features a picture of a uniformed police officer and a man in a suit searching the area where the Craigavon Senior High School pupil was found.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Floral tributes were laid in the woodland area following the death

The paper says Portadown is "reeling" after the tragic death.

It quotes Hilary Woods, the assistant principal at Craigavon Senior High School, who says GCSE exams are ongoing so the school will endeavour to keep operating.

The Irish News also features the story on its front page.

It says groups of young people, some visibly upset, gathered at the scene in Corcrain woodland on Sunday to lay flowers in memory of the teenager.

It also quotes Ms Woods, who tells the paper the school has implemented a plan to give pupils the opportunity to talk about what has happened.

"A letter will be sent to parents telling them about this tragic incident and providing information on the support services available through the school," she says.

Image copyright Mark Pearce
Image caption The girl was a pupil at Craigavon Senior High School

Later in the paper, there's an editorial on sudden deaths.

It says that while there has been no confirmation of how the girl died, "it is important that we continue to emphasise the danger people using these substances are putting themselves in and try to persuade them that the risk is not worth it".

"Drugs have been responsible for a horrendous toll of carnage in recent weeks and months, particularly among young people," it continues.

The Belfast Telegraph has spoken to the girl's aunt, who says the family are "devastated".

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption A post-mortem will be carried out to establish the cause of her death

"She was our world and had a heart of gold," she tells the paper.

"She would light up any room with her beautiful smile and bubbly personality and will be missed by her entire family."

The Daily Mirror also leads with the story of the teenager's death under the headline "Drug link to girl's park death".

It says a post-mortem will be carried out to establish the exact cause of death.

Elsewhere in the papers this morning the #blondegate row is still ongoing with a church minister adding fuel to the fire.

Canon Mark Watson reportedly told an election event in support of Ulster Unionist Tom Elliott that he was "glad hydrogen peroxide is dyeing hair blonde and not going into creamery cans to make explosives".

The comments, referring to criticism of Arlene Foster last week for describing Mrs O'Neill as "blonde", were made at a gathering at an Orange hall attended by the DUP leader.

Mrs Foster used the word "blonde" to describe Sinn Féin's northern leader as part of a word association game during an interview with the Sunday Independent.

Canon Watson reportedly added: "I hope there are no press about or I've just lost my job."

However, speaking to The Irish News last night, Canon Watson did not retract the remarks.

"I have no further comment to make," he said.

"It was a private function and a private joke.

"As far as I'm concerned it is over."