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Jury returns accidental death verdict in Nicola tragedy

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Nicola Burns (inset) and the stretch of road where she lost her life.
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This article originally appeared on ThisIsArdee.ie

The jury in the inquiry into the death of an Ardee woman in a tragic motorcyle crash last summer has returned a verdict of accidental death.

Nicola Burns fatally lost control of her motorbike on the M9 motorway near Kilcullen, Co. Kildare and crashed shortly before 9.30pm on Saturday July 9th 2016. Nicola, originally from Dundalk but who had been living in Reaghstown and working in Ardee, had been travelling from Ardee to Kildare to an event. She was in convoy with two other motorcyclists at the time.

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At the inquest held at Naas coroner’s court on Monday, witnesses including other road users, her fellow motorcyclists and Gardai gave evidence, report the Dundalk Democrat.

Andreas Brennan, a driver who was on the motorway at the time, said he was passed by all three motorbikes – of which Nicola Burns was riding the last, a Suzuki Bandit.

Mr Brennan said he noticed the bike slowing down and that he noticed her rear wheel was wobbling. As he drew level with the slowing motorbike he saw it veer into the grass centre of the M9 motorway at Sunnyhill, Kilcullen. The witness also said that he saw the motorbike somersault, at least once, in his rear view mirror.

The court heard that despite efforts of Mr Brennan and other motorists who stopped to assist, Ms Burns had died instantly.

Garda Tony O’Halloran told the coroner’s court that the brakes, suspension and tires of the motorcycle were all in good working order.

He said there was “no apparent reason why she slowed down” although the Garda did say that if the luggage on the back of the bike had loosened, as suggested by Mr Brennan, “there was no way she could have recovered control of the bike”.

Coroner Denis Cusack noted that there is simply no way of knowing what exactly had happened. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

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