THE DEATH of a mother who was last seen on a Dublin beach, but whose body was located on a Blackpool beach weeks later, has been described as a mystery at an inquest in England.
Bernadette Mary Connolly, who was born in Dublin, was reported missing by her family on 7 January of this year.
On 4 February, a body discovered on the beach at Blackpool was confirmed to be Bernadette's after an analysis comparing samples taken from the body with her daughter Jade's DNA.
She was last seen when she was dropped of by a taxi at the car park on the shoreline Hotel in Donabate at around 11.50am and walked towards Donate beach.
Less than an hour later, she took a photo on her phone of Malahide Bay and was never seen again.
Lancashire Live reports that at an inquest at Blackpool Town Hall yesterday, Senior Coroner Alan Wilson said:
"At 2.49pm on Friday February 4 a call was made to the police regarding the discovery of a body washed up on the promenade at Blackpool close to the steps leading down to the beach," the coroner said.
"This lady had been found because the tide had receded and there was nothing to indicate she had been the victim of a crime."
An investigation led by Gardaí and with assistance from Lancashire Constaulary, concluded that there were no suspicious circumstances or evidence of third-party involvement in Bernadette's death.
Because of the 'extensive decomposition' of her body a pathologist was unable to determine a medical cause of death.
In a report to the coroner Bernadette's GP, Dr Ellen Jones, said she had 'never expressed anything about ending her own life'. Although she had some long-standing medical issues there was no suggestion she was suicidal.
The inquest heard that Bernadette, who could swim, had 'lots to look forward to' including a new career since accepting redundancy during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The coroner said: "She had some long-standing medical issues but she had no long-standing history of mental health issues.
"This lady had a lot to look forward to; she had a new career, she didn't have any financial concerns, she had a loving family, she had enjoyed a nice Christmas and she had recently paid her health insurance. Did she die as a result of her own actions or did she intend to end her life? I cannot say that."