Tribute paid to crash victim

THE tragic death of Northern Regional College student Rebecca McManus has left everyone at the Newtownabbey campus "shocked and devastated."

The 26-year-old from Rathfern, who was killed in a car crash at the Hazelbank roundabout last Thursday, had been studying for an HND in Social Care.

Many of Rebecca’s friends and fellow students have left emotional messages expressing their grief on online social networking sites, and College Director, Trevor Neilands, paid his own public tribute to the former NRC Student of the Year.

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Describing everyone at the Shore Road campus as being “shocked and devastated” by Rebecca’s death, Mr Neilands said: “Staff and students found her charming, engaging, academically very accomplished and an absolute pleasure to work with. We had the highest hopes for her as she had declared her intentions to forge a career in the Probation Service.

“We are so saddened by this tragedy and wish to convey to her two young sons and the rest of her family our deepest condolences.”

Messages of condolence have also been expressed to Rebecca’s two young sons and wider family circle by the Mayor of Newtownabbey, Chairman of the District Policing Partnership and several local councillors.

DUP councillor Dineen Walker, a friend of Rebecca’s parents Wilma and Con, lost her son in a road accident 13 years ago.

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“I would say it brings it all back to you, but the truth is it never goes away. It’s terrible. She (Rebecca) was a lovely wee girl with two young children and my heartfelt sympathies go out to them and the rest of her family. It’s absolutely tragic,” she said.

Councillor Walker appealed to motorists to be vigilant and to take extra care on the roads as winter approaches.

Extending her sympathies to the McManus family, Mayor Paula Bradley commented: “To lose someone so young is such a tragedy and I would like to extend my sympathy to the family involved. My thoughts are also with the other victims currently in hospital and I pray that they make a full recovery.”

DPP Chairman Fraser Agnew added: “My deepest sympathy goes to Rebecca’s family. It must be truly heartbreaking for them and we can’t really imagine what they are going through at this time.

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“I understand that five other people were injured and I hope they all make a good recovery.”

DUP alderman Billy DeCourcy and Alliance councillor Tom Campbell also expressed their deepest condolences to the McManus family on their devastating loss.

Police officers investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash, which happened shortly before 1pm, have appealed for witnesses to contact them at Newtownabbey Station.