herald

Monday 21 April 2014

Outlaw RIP Facebook messages -- coroner

A CORONER has called for Facebook to enforce an embargo on RIP messages being left on the sites of deceased users. The call comes after a woman found out about the death of her brother through the social networking site.



Noreen Mallon had been trying to contact her brother Paul Carthy (29) of Woodside Park, Kildare, Co Kildare before her daughter read on Facebook that a body had been found in Kildare, confirming the family's worst fears.

"This has been the second or third incident of this kind I have dealt with in recent months involving families finding out tragic news through Facebook. It really is a shocking way for someone to be informed of a loved one's death," said Coroner Dr Denis Cusack at Naas Courthouse.



Protect

"It would be worthwhile to look into an embargo on such websites that would protect family and loved ones from learning news of this nature in this way," he added.

Although in this case no name was given at the time, Mr Mallon told the Coroner that she "felt this was Paul".

The body of Paul Carthy was found on the morning of Sunday, October 2, 2011 on the grounds of Round Towers GAA Club in Kildare by a man out walking his dog.

Suspicions first arose on the Saturday evening when Paul sent a text to his ex girlfriend Amy Dunne, in which the former jockey said his goodbyes and extended his love to her and his two nieces.

The couple had spilt up six years earlier but Ms Dunne remained close to both Paul and his wider family. After receiving the text she instantly called him but got no response.

Paul had been drinking with friends on the Saturday afternoon. A close friend said he was in good form.

The following day Noreen's daughter alerted her to the news that a body had been found nearby. Family members later identified it as Paul's at Naas General Hospital.

Last December, the Kildare Coroner's Court dealt with a case in which a young girl learned of her boyfriend's death after reading messages of sympathy on the deceased's Facebook page.

hnews@herald.ie

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